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Full text of "Brand's popular antiquities of Great Britain. Faiths and folklore; a dictionary of national beliefs, superstitions and popular customs, past and current, with their classical and foreign analogues, described and illustrated"

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tsKANUa FOPULAR ANTIQUITIES OF GREAT BRITAIN. 



Faiths and Folklore 



A DICTIONARY 

OF 

NATIONAL BELIEFS, SUPEESTITIONS AND POPULAK 

CUSTOMS, PAST AND CUEEENT, WITH THEIE 

CLASSICAL AND FOEEIGN ANALOGUES, 

DESCEIBED AND ILLUSTEATED. 



FORMING A NEW EDITION OF " THE POPULAR ANTIQUITIES OF GREAT 

BRITAIN" BY BRAND AND ELLIS, LARGELY EXTENDED, CORRECTED, 

BROUGHT DOWN TO THE PRESENT TIME, AND NOW 

FIRST ALPHABETICALLY ARRANGED. 



BY 

W. C A R E W H A Z L I T T. 



e 



IN TWO VOLUMES— VOL. IT, 



London : New York; 

REEVES & TURNER. CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS. 

MCMV. 



cA 



/\.T_^5 5L 9>Sl- 



AS^n POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



335 



I am a. Spanish Merchant. — A 

writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for 
1738 says: "Queen Elizabeth herself is 
believed to have invented the play ' I am 
a Spanish Merchant' ; and Burleigh's chil- 
dren were the first who played at it. In 
this play, if any one offers to sale what 
he hath not his hand upon or touches, he 
forfeits — meant as an instruction to trad- 
ers not to give credit to the Spaniards. 
The Play of Commerce succeeded, and was 
in fashion during all her reign." 

Ider. — A form of oath by St. Iderius 
formerly usual in Applecross, co. Ross. — 
Stat. Ace. of Scotland, iii., 380. 

Ig:nis Fatuus. — See Will o' the 
Wisp. 

I Love my Love with an A, 
etc.— Pepys, under March 4,1668-9, notes 
being at Whitehall, " And there," says 
he, "I did find the Duke of York and 
Duchess, with all the great ladies, sitting 
upon a carpet on the ground, there being 
no chairs, playing at ' I love my love with 
an A, because of this and that ' ; and some 
of them, but particularly the Duchess her- 
self, and my Lady Castlemaiue, were very 
witty." 

ImagreSi etc. — In the Churchwar- 
dens' Accounts of Minchinhampton, un- 
der 1576, there is an entry of an allowance 
of 6s. 8d. to John Mayowe and John Lyth 
for ' ' pullynge downe, dystroyenge, and 
throwynge out of the churche sundrye 
superstyoyous thinges tendinge to the 
maynetenaunce of idolatrye." Archosolo- 
logia, XXXV., 430. 

A very curious case, illustrative of this 
branch of our subject, occurred in Soot- 
land in the earlier part of the reign of 
James VI. The parties to an intended 
murder first tested their probable success 
by shooting with arrows of flint at images 
of their proposed victims, made of butter. 
Bom. Annals of Scotland, i., 232. 



Immaculate Conception. — See 

Mary of Nazareth. 
Imperator at Cambridge. — 

See Christmas Prince. 

In and in. — "In-and-in," says the 
" Compleat Gamester," 1680, (quoted by 
Mr. Dyce in a note), "is a game very 
much used at an ordinary, and may be 
play'd by two or three, each having a 
box in his hand. It is play'd with four 
dice." This game is referred to in Flet- 
cher's play of the "Chances," written 
prior to 1625. There Don Frederick says : 
" 'Tis strange 

I cannot meet him ; sure, he has en- 
counter'd 

Some light o' love or other, and there 
means 

To play at in-and-in for this night — " 

Of course the allusion here is playful or 
facetious. Perhaps these double mean- 
ings were in some favour. In Nevile's 
" Newes from the New Exchange," 1650, 
the author, speaking of Lady Sands, says : 
" She out drinkes a Dutch-man, outvies 
a courtesan, and is good at all games, but 
loves none like In and In." In-and-in 
also occurs as a popular recreation in Leu- 
ton's "Young Gallants Whirligig," 1629. 
Comp. Halliwell and Nares in v. 

Indulgr@'ic6s> Papal. — See 
Hazlitt's Bihl. Collections and Notes, 
1903, p. 194, for a notice of two issues of a 
printed document, granting under certain 
specified conditions, 32,755 years of pardon 
to the person, whose name is filled in, 
these forms being generally issued with 
a blank or blanks left for the ecclesiastic 
concerned to complete. At the end of a sort 
of metrical allegory, called Piers of FuU 
ham (14th century), in Hazlitt's Popular 
Poetry, 1864, ii., occurs the moral, with 
this apparently facetious or satirical noti- 
fication : "Iff any man and woman that 
hath a deuocyon to heire hit, they shall 



336 



NATIONAL FAllH^i 



haue peraventure for theire meede not 
past C dayes of pardon " ; so that 
these absurdities and impostures were 
•even then discredited and ridiculed. At 
a later period, John Heywood, in 
"his interlude of the Pardoner and 
the Friar, written in or before 1521, 
makes the former rehearse all the 
henefits which accrue from the pur- 
•chase of the relics, which he carries with 
him, or from a subscription to his calls. 
Five, ten, and even twelve, thousand years 
■of pardon are mentioned, but not 32,755. 
■Contributors to crusades against the in- 
fidels were, during the 15th and 16th cen- 
"turies, shareholders in these paullo-post- 
futuro securities. 

Inner Temple. — See Christmas 
Prince and Inns of Court. 

Inning; Goose. — ^In some parts of 
Torkshire, as a clergyman of that county 
informed Brand, there is Riven at the end 
of shearing or reaping the corn a prize 
■sheaf to be run for, and when all the 
•corn is got home into the stack-yard, an 
entertainment is given, called the Inning 
•Goose. 

Innocents' Day.— See Childermas. 

Inns of Court. — See Christmas, In- 
ner Temple, Lord of Misrule, &c. An ex- 
traordinary pageant or masque, in which 
all the four principal Inns co-operated, 
was the Triumph of Peace, by James Shir- 
ley, 1633, which is of course in Dyce's edi- 
tion of the dramatist. It was performed 
in the banquetting House at Whitehall. 
Martin Parker wrote a ballad called The 
Honour of the Inns of Court Gentlemen, 
or a hriefe recitall of the Magnificent and 
Matchlesse Show, that passed from Hat- 
ion and Ely house in Solborne to White- 
hall, on Monday night, being the third 
of February, and the next day after 
■Candlemas, to the Tune of our Noble King 
in his Progresse. 

Inns of Court. — Christmas Sports. 
'See Leigh's Accidence of Armoury, 1562, 

Irish. — This was a species of tables or 
backgammon, which was a very old game 
in this country. Fletcher, in the " Scorn- 
ful Lady," 1616, makes the lady say: 

"I would have vex'd you 
More than a tir'd poet horse, and been 

longer bearing, 
Thau ever after-game at Irish was — " 

■TJnon which Mr. Dyce observes : " See the 
' Compleat Gamester^' where we are in- 
•formed that it requires a great deal of 
^kill to play it (Irish) well, especially the 
after-game ; bearing, a term of the game, 
was frequently, as in the present passage, 
-used with a quibble — ." Shirley men- 
tions Irish in his play of " St. Patrick for 
Ireland," 1640, and Hall, in his " Horse 



Vacivae," 1646, observes: "The incon- 
stancy of Irish fitly represents the change- 
ablenesse of humane occurrences, since it 
ever stands so fickle that one malignant 
throw can quite mine a never so well-built 
game. Art hath here a great sway, by 
reason if one cannot well stand the first 
assault, hee may safely retire back to an 
after game." From a passage in the 
"Honest Man's Fortune" (1613), it may 
be inferred that in Beaumont and Flet- 
cher's day there were two kinds of Irish, 
for there we hear of " two hand Irish." 

Irish Baal or Sun Worship.— 
In Ireland, says Piers, in his Description 
of Westmeath, 1682, "on the Eves of 
St. John Baptist and St. Peter, they al- 
ways have in every town a bonfire late in 
the evenings, and carry about bundles of 
reeds fast tied and fired ; these being dry, 
will last long, and flame better than a 
torch, and be a pleasing divertive pro- 
spect to the distant beholder ; a stranger 
would go near to imagine the whole coun- 
try was on fire. On Midsummer's Eve 
every eminence, near which is a habita- 
tion, blazes with bonfires ; and round these 
they carry numerous torches, shouting and 
dancing, which affords a beautiful sight, 
and at the same time confirms the obser- 
vation of Soaliger." Survey of the South 
of Ireland, p. 232. "I have however 
heard it lamented that the alteration of 
the style had spoiled these exhibitions; 
for the Roman Catholics light their fires 
by the new style, as the correction origin- 
ated from a pope ; and for that very same 
reason the Protestants adhere to the old." 
"The sun," says the writer, "was pro- 
pitiated here by sacrifices of fire : one was 
on the first of May, for a blessing on the 
seed sown. The first of May is called, in 
the Irish language, La Beal-tein, that 
is, the day of Seal's fire. Vossius says it 
is well known that Apollo was called Beli- 
nus, and for this he quotes Herodian, and 
an inscription at Aquileia, Apollini Belino. 
The gods of Tyre were Baal, Ashtaroth, 
and all the Host of Heaven, as we learn 
from the frequent rebukes given to the 
backsliding Jews for following after Sido- 
nian idols : and the Phenician Baal or 
Baalam, like the Irish Beal or Bealin, 
denotes the sun, as Asturoth does the 
moon." The writer in the " Gent. Maga- 
zine" for Feb. 1795, attributes the Irish 
worship of the sun and fire to the Roman 
Catholics, who have artfully yielded to the 
superstitions of the natives, in order to 
gain and keep up an establishment, graft- 
ing Christianity on Pagan rites. The 
chief festival in honour of the sun and 
fire is upon the 21st of June, when the 
sun arrives at the summer solstice, or 
ratlier begins its retrograde motion. Cor- 
respondents of " Notes and Queries" es- 



.TTTD POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



337 



tablish the existence of this custom, not 
many years ago, in Ireland. In the course 
of ages, its ancient ceremonial and sym- 
' bolic import has, no doubt, grown a little 
indistinct in the minds of those who still 
practise it ; but it is curious that, at so 
remote a date, the old Baal-worship should 
survive among us even in any form. The 
Irish in Liverpool still burned very re- 
cently the midsummer fires on St. John's 
Eve. Yet Vallancey seems to say that in 
Ireland itself, even in his time, candles 
had been substituted for fires. 

Irish Christmas Usagfes. — Sir 
Richard Cox, in his " History of Ireland," 
mentions some very ridiculous Christmas 
■customs, which continued in the year 1565, 
In Ireland " On Twelve-Eve in Christmas, 
they use to set up as high as they can a 
sieve of oats, and in it a dozen of candles 
set round, and in the centre one larger, 
all lighted. This in memory of our Savi- 
our and his Apostles, lights of the world." 
Sir Henry Piers' Description of the 
County of Westmeath, 1682, in Vallan- 
cey, vol. i. No. 1, p. 124. 

Irish Drinking: Customs. — 
Barnaby Rich, describing the mode of 
drinking healths in his time, tells us : "He 
that beginneth the health, hath his pre- 
scribed orders : first uncovering his head, 
hee takes a full cup in his hand, and set- 
ling his countenance with a grave aspect, 
hee craves for audience : silence being 
once obtained, hee begins to breathe out 
the name, peradventure of some honour- 
able personage, that is worthy of a better 
regard, than to have his name polluted 
amongst a company of drunkards : but 
his health is drunke to, and hee that pledg- 
«th must likewise off with his cap, kisse 
his fingers, and bowing himselfe in signe 
of a reverent acceptance. When the 
leader sees his follower thus prepared : 
he soups up his broath, turnes the bottom 
flf the cup upward, and in ostentation of 
his dexteritie, gives the cup a phillip, to 
make it cry Twango. And thus the first 
scene is acted. The cup being newly re- 
plenished to the breadth of an haire, he 
that is the pledger, must now beginne his 
part, and thus it goes round throughout 
the whole company, provided alwaies by 
a cannon set downe by the founder, there 
must be three at the least still uncovered, 
till the health hath had the full passage : 
which is no sooner ended, but another be- 
gins againe." Irish Euhbub, 1617, ed. 
1619, p. 24. Brown, Bishop of Cork, being 
a violent Tory, wrote a book to prove that 
drinking memories was a species of idola- 
try, in order to abolish a custom then 
prevalent among the Whigs of Ireland of 
■drinking the glorious memory of King 
William the Third. But, instead of cool- 



ing, he only inflamed the rage for the 
toast, to which they afterwards tacked the 
following rider, "And a f*** for the 
Bishop of Cork." " Survey of the South 
of Ireland," p. 421. The Bishop's work 
was entitled "Of drinking in remembrance 
of the Dead " ; 8vo. Lend. 1715, where, in 
p. 54, he asserts that " an Health is no 
other than a liquid sacrifice in the con- 
stant sense and practice of the heathen." 
And at page 97, he tells us of a curious 
"Return given by the great Lord Bacon 
to such as pressed him to drink the King's 
Health"; namely, that "he would drink 
for his own health, and pray for the 
King's." In Ireland, "on the Patron 
Day, in most parishes, as also on the feasts 
of Easter and Whitsuntide, the more or- 
dinary sort of people meet near the ale- 
house in the afternoon, on some conveni- 
ent spot of ground, and dance for the 
cake ; here to be sure the piper fails not 
of diligent attendance. The cake to be 
danced for is provided at the charge of 
the ale-wife, and is advanced on a board 
on the top of a pike, about ten feet high ; 
this board is round, and from it riseth a 
kind of garland, beset and tied round with 
meadow flowers, if it be early in the sum- 
mer : if later, the garland has the addition 
of apples, set round on pegs, fastened unto 
it. The whole number of dancers begin 
all at once in a large ring, a man and a 
woman, and dance round about the bush 
(so is this garland called), and the piper. 
as long as they are able to hold out. They 
that hold out longest at the exercise, win 
the cake and apples, and then the ale- 
wife's trade goes on." Piers, Description 
of Westmeath, 1682, ap. Vallancey i. 123. 

Irish Election Custom. — There 
was an old ceremony in Ireland of electing 
a person to any office by throwing an old 
shoe over his head, according to the author 
of the Idol of the Clowns, 1654, p. 19. 

Irish Fairy Lore.— The late Mr. 
T. Crofton Croker classes the Irish 
fairies under the heads of shefro, cluri- 
caune, banshee, phooka, morrow, dullahan 
and the fir darrig. The name shefro liters 
ally signifies a fairy-house or mansion, 
and is adopted as a generic name for the 
elves who are supposed to live in 
troops or communities, and were 
popularly supposed to have castles or 
mansions of their own. The cluricauue 
was distinguished by his solitary habits. 
The banshee, an attendant fairy or spirit, 
especially observed to mourn on the death 
of any member of a family to which it at- 
tached itself. The phooka appears to be 
a modification of Robin Goodfellow or 
Puck. The merrow is a mermaid. The 
dullahan is a malicious, sullen spirit, or 
goblin, and the fir darrig a little merry 
red man, not unlike in its disposition ana 



338 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



movements to Puck." Brand's P. A., ed. 
1848. " Sith-bhreog, the same as Sigh- 
brog, a fairy; hence bean-sighe, plural 
mna-sighe^ women fairies ; credulously 
supposed by the common people to be so 
affected to certain families, that they are 
heard to sing mournful lamentations about 
their houses by night, whenever any of the 
family labours under a sickness, which is 
to end by death: but no families, which 
are not of an ancient and noble stock (of 
Oriental extraction he should have said), 
are believed to be honoured with this fairy 

Erivilege." O'Brien's Bid. Sib., cited 
y Vallancey, Collect, iii. 461. 
Dr. Moore, a Wicklow schoolmaster, 
in the time of Charles II., had, it seems, 
"been often told by his mother and 
several others of his relations, of spirits 
which they called fairies, who used 
frequently to carry him away, and 
continue him with them for some 
time, without doing him the least 
prejudice : but his mother being very 
much frighted and concerned thereat, did, 
as often as he was missing, send to a cer- 
tain old woman, her neighbour in the coun- 
try, who by repeating some spells or ex- 
orcisms, would suddenly cause his return." 
His friend very naturally disbelieved the 
facts, "while the doctor did positively 
aflSrm the truth thereof." But the most 
strange and wonderful part of the story 
is, that during the dispute the doctor was 
carried off suddenly by some of those in- 
visible gentry, though forcibly held by two 
persons ; nor did he return to the company 
till six o'clock the nest morning, both 
hungry and thirsty, having, as he asserted 
" been hurried from place to place all that 
night." At the end of this marvellous 
narration is the following advertisement : 
" For the satisfaction of the licenser, I 
certifie this following" (it ought to have 
been preceding) " Relation was sent to me 
from Dublin by a person whom I credit, 
and recommended in a letter bearing date 
the 23rd of November last as true news 
much spoken of there. John Cother." 
This sort of certificate usually accompanies 
all the old narratives of marvels, as if the 
narrators entertained a secret misgiving 
as to the extent of popular credulity on 
the subject. Here was a man assuring 
the government official that everything 
was perfectly correct ! " Strange and 
Wonderful News from the County of Wick- 
low," &c., 1678. 

In the " Survey of the South of 
Ireland," p. 280, I read as follows: 
"The fairy mythology is swallowed 
with the wide throat of credulity. Every 
parish has its green and thorn, where these 
little people are believed to hold their 
merry meetings, and dance their frolic 
rounds. I have seen one of those elf- 



stones, like a thin triangular flint, not 
half an inch in diameter, with which they 
suppose the fairies destroy their cows. 
And when these animals are seized with a 
certain disorder, to which they are very 
incident, they say they are elf -shot. Val- 
lancey, in his "Collectanea de Rebus 
Hibernicis," No. xiii., description of 
Plate 11, tells us, that " what the peas- 
ants in Ireland call an elf-arrow is rre- 
quently set in silver, and worn about the 
neck as an amulet against being elt-shot 
"In Ireland," says Grose, " they (the 
fairies) frequently lay bannocks, a kina 
of oaten cakes, in the way of travellers 
over the mountains: and if they do not 
accept of the intended favour, they sel- 
dom escape a hearty beating or something 
worse." Comp. Elf-Shot. 

Irish Funeral Customs.— In the 
"Irish Hudibras," 1689, is given the fol- 
lowing description of the burial of an 
Irish piper : 

" They mounted him upon a bier. 
Through which the whattles did appear, 
Like ribs on either side made fast. 
With a white velvet (i.e. blanket) over 

cast : 
So poor Macshane, God rest his shoul. 
Was after put him in a hole ; 
In which, with many sighs and scrieche.'i. 
They throw his trouses and his breeches ; 
The tatter' d brogue was after throw, 
With a new heel-piece on the toe ; 
And stookins fine as friez to feel. 
Worn out with praying at the heel ; 
And in his mouth, 'gainst he took 

wherry, 
Dropt a white groat to pay the ferry. 
Thus did they make this last hard shift. 
To furnish him for a dead lift." 

The following is copied from the 
"Argus," Aug. 5, 1790. "Dublin, July 
31 : Sunday being St. James's Day, the 
votaries of St. James's Church Yard at- 
tended in considerable crowds at the 
Shrines of their departed friends, and 
paid the usual tributary honours of paper 
gloves and garlands of flowers on their 
graves." Compare Irish Wakes. 

Irish Hobby. — The hobby-harness 
mentioned in the Wardrobe Accounts of 
Edward IV., 1480, was intended, not for a 
hobby-horse, but for an Irish hobby, or 
small horse imported into this country 
from Ireland at an early date. 

Irish Marriag^e Rites. — In 
Piers' Description of Westmeath, 1683, 
it is stated, that " in their marriages, es- 
pecially in those countries where cattle 
abound, the parents and friends on each 
side meet on the side of a hill, or, if the 
weather be cold, in some place of shelter 
about mid-way between both dwellings. 
If agreement ensue, they drink the Agree- 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



339 



ment-Bottle, as they call it, which is a 
bottle of good Usquebaugh," (i.e. whisky, 
the Irish aqua vitm, and not what is now 
understood by TJsquebaugh), " and this 
goes merrily round. For payment of the 
portion, which generally is a determinate 
number of cows, little care is taken. Only 
the father, or next of kin to the bride, 
sends to his neighbours and friends suh 
mutucE vicissitudinis ohtentu, and every 
one gives his cow or heifer, which is all 
one in the case, and thus the portion is 
quickly paid ; nevertheless, caution is 
taken from tho bridegroom, on the day of 
delivery, for restitution of the cattle, in 
case the bride died childless within a cer- 
tain day limited by agreement, and in 
this case every man's own beast is restored. 
Thus care is taken that no man shall grow 
rich by often marriages. On the day of 
bringing home, the bridegroom and his 
friends ride out, and meet the bride and 
her friends at the place of treaty. Being 
come near each other, the custom was of 
old to cast short darts at the company 
that attended the bride, but at such a 
distance that seldom any hurt ensued : 
yet it is not out of the memory of man 
that Lord Hoath on such an occasion lost 
an eye : this custom of casting darts is 
now obsolete." Camden says, that "they 
(the Irish) are observed to present their 
lovers with bracelets of women's hair, 
whether in reference to Venus' Cestus or 
not, I know not." Gough's ed. 
1789, iii., 658. The following is from 
the " Gentleman's Magazine " for March, 
1767: "The antient custom of seizing 
wives by force, and carrying them off, is 
still practised in Ireland. A remark- 
able instance of which happened lately 
in the county of Kilkenny, where a far- 
mer's son, being refused a neighbour's 
daughter of only twelve years of age, took 
an opportunity of running away with her ; 
but being pursued and recovered by the 
girl's parents, she was brought back and 
married by her father to a lad of fourteen. 
But her former lover, determining to 
maintain his priority, procured a party of 
armed men, besieged the house of his 
rival ; and in the contest the father-in-law 
was shot dead, and several of the besieg- 
ers were mortally wounded, and forced 
to retire without their prize." 

Irish May-day Customs. — Piers 
says (Descriptioii of Westmeath, 1682), 
" On May Eve, every family sets up before 
their door a green bush, strewed over with 
yellow flowers, which the meadows yield 
plentifully. In countries where timber is 
plentiful, they erect tall slender trees, 
which stand high, and they continue al- 
most the whole year ; so as a stranger 
would go nigh to imagine that they were 
ill I signs of ale-sellers, and that all houses 



were ale-houses." He also tells us that 
the Irish ' ' have a custom every May-day, 
which they count their first day of sum- 
mer, to have to their meal one formal dish, 
whatever else they have, which some call 
stir-about, or hasty-pudding, that is flour 
and milk boiled thick ; and this is holden 
as an argument of the good wife's good 
huswifery, that made her corn hold out so 
well as to have such a dish to begin sum- 
mer fare with ; for if they can hold out 
so long with bread, they count they can 
do well enough for what remains of the 
year till harvest ; for then milk becomes 
plenty, and butter, new cheese and curds 
and shamrocks, are the food of the meaner 
sort all this season. Nevertheless, in this 
mess, on this day, they are so formal, that 
even in the plentifuUest and greatest 
houses, where Dread is in abundance all 
the year long, they will not fail of this 
dish, nor yet they that for a month before 
wanted bread." Camden says: "They 
fancy a green bough of a tree, fastened on 
May Day against the house, will produce 
plenty of milk that summer." Vallau- 
cey, speaking of the first of May, says : 
" On that day the Druids drove all the 
cattle through the fires, to preserve them 
from disorders the ensuing year. This 
pagan custom is still observed in Munster 
and Connaught, where the meanest cot- 
tager worth a cow and a wisp of straw 
practises the same on the first day of May, 
and with the same superstitious ideas.'* 
Irish Michaelmas Custom— 
" In Ireland a sheep was killed in every 
family that could afford one, at Michael- 
mas ; and it was ordained by law that a 
part of it should be given to the poor. 
This, as we gather from Keating, and a 
groat deal more, was done in that king- 
dom, to perpetuate the memory of a 
miracle wrought there by St. Patrick 
through the assistance of the Archangel. 
In commemoration of this, Michaelmas 
was instituted a festal day of joy, plenty, 
and universal benevolence." 

Irish Superstitions. — Giraldus 
Cambrensis, who visited Ireland about the 
end of the twelfth century, speaks thus of 
some relics of superstition : — " Hoc etiam 
non praetereundum puto, quod campanas 
bajulas, baculosque sanctorum in superi- 
ore parte recurves, auro et argento vel 
iere confectos, tam Hiberniai et Scotisa 
quam et Wallise populus et clerus in mag- 
na reverentia habere solent : ita ut sacra- 
menta supra hsec, longe magis quam super 
Evangelia, et prjestare vereantur et pe- 
jerare. Ex vi enim quadam occulta, et 
his quasi divinitus insita, nee non et vin- 
dicta (cujus praecipue sancti illi appe- 
tiljiles esse videntur) plerumque puni- 
untur contemptores." " Topog. Hiber." 
1. iii. c. 33, and 1. ii. c. 23, edit. 1867. 



40 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



"On the Oidche Shamlina (Ee Owna) or 
Vigil of Saman," Vallaneej says, " The 
peasants in Ireland assemble with sticks 
and clnbs (the emblems of laceration) 
going from house to honse, collecting 
money, bread-cake, butter, cheese, eggs, 
&c., &c., for the feast, repeating Terees in 
honour of the solemnity, demanding pre- 

Sarations for the festival in the name of 
t. Colomb Kill, desiring them to lay aside 
the fatted calf, and to bring forth the 
black sheep. The good women are em- 
ployed in making the griddle cake and 
candles ; these last are sent from honse 
to house in the Ticinity, and are lighted 
np on the (Saman) next day, before which 
they pray, or are supposw to pray, for 
the departed soul of the donor. Every 
honse abounds in the best viands 
they can afford : apples and nuts are de- 
voured in abundance : the nut-shells are 
burnt, and from the ashes many strange ' 
t hin gs are foretold : cabbages are torn up 
by the root : hemp seed is sown by the ■ 
maidens, and they behere that if they 
look back, they wUl see the apparition of 
Hie man intended for their future spouse : 
they hang a smock before the fire, on the 
close of the feast, and sit up all night, i 
concealed in a comer of the" room, con- 
vinced that his apparition will come down 
the chimney and turn the srriock: they 
throw a ball of yam out of the window, 
and wind it on the rf*l within, convinced 
that if they repeat the Pater Xoster back- 
wards, and look at the ball of yam with- 
out, they will then also see his sith or ap- ' 
parition : they dip tor apples in a tub of 
water, and endeavour to Bring one up in 
the mouth : they suspend a eord with a 
cross stick, with apijles at one point, and 
candles lighted at the other, and endeav- 
our to catch the apple, while it is in cir- 
ctdar motion, in tte mouth- Tnese, and 
many other superstitious ceremonies, the 
remains of Drnidism, are observed on this 
holiday, which will never be eradicated 
while the name of Saman is permitted to 
remain." I do not know whether Sam^n 
has an amnity to the Turanian .rhaman. 
In Ireland, On the first .Sunday in har- 
vest, viz., in Atignst, they wiii be sure to 
drive their cattle into some pool or river 
and therein swim them : this they observe 
as inviolable as if it were a point of re- 
ligion, for ttey think no beast will live 
the whole year thro' unless they be thus 
drenched. I deny not but that swimming 
cattle, and ehieiy in this season of the 
year, is healthral unto them, as the poet 
hath observed: 

' Balantemone gregem fluvio mersare 

salubri.' — Tirg. 
In th' healthful flood to plunge the 

bleating flock. 



but precisely to do this on the first Sunday 
in harvest, I look on as not only supersti- 
tions but profane." Piers, Deter, of 
Weftmeaih, 16*2, ap. Tallancey, i., 121. 
In "The Irish Hndibras," ie.!9, we have 
tlie following allusion to the Irish visits to 
holy weUs on the patron's day: 

" Have you beheld, when people pray 
At St. John's Well on Patron-Day, 
By charm of priest and miracle. 
To cure diseases at this well ; 
The valleys fill'd with blind and lame. 
And go as limping as they came." 

This refers to a well in the Xorth of Ire- 
land. Camden says : "If tliey never give 
fire out of their houses to their neigh- 
bours, they fancy their horses will live the 
longer and be more healthy. If the own- 
ers of horses eat eggs, they must take care 
to eat an even number, otherwise some 
mischief will betide the horses. Grooms 
are not allowed eggs, and the riders are 
obliged to wash their hands after eating 
them. When a horse dies, his feet and 
legs are hung np in the house, and even 
the hoofs are ac-counted sacred. It is by 
no means allowable to praise a horse or 
any other animal, unless yon say God save 
him. or spit upon him. If any mischance 
befalls the horse, in three days after they 
find out the person who commended him, 
that he may whisper the Lord's Prayer 
in his right ear. They believe some men's 
eyes have a power of bewitching horses; 
and then they send for certain old women 
who, by muttering short prayers, restore 
them to health.. Their torses' feet are 
subject to a worm, which gradually creep- 
ing upwards produces others of its own 
species, and corrriDts the body. Against 
this worm they call in a 'sitch. who must 
come to the horse t-«o Mondays and one 
Thursday, and breathe upon the place 
^here tlie worm lodges, and after repeat- 
ing a charm the horse recovers. This 
charm they will, for a sum of money, teach 
to many people, after first swearing them 
nfj^r to disc'io^ it."' Googh's Camden, 
1.--;'. lii.. ?<:r: .Jorden's .•^•uJ'oi-a'-iiin of 
the MotleT, 1603. p. 24. The fomier 
adds: "They think women have chamis 
divided and distributed among them; 
and to taem persons apuly sctording 
to their sereral disorders.' and they 
constantly b^n and end the charm 
with Pater Xoster and Ave Maria." And 
again. "They look through the bare blade- 
p'j^_- •'-i a sheep, and if they see any spot 
in it darker than ordinary, foretell that 
somebody will be buried out of the house." 
Ed. 1795. iii., e.59, eeS. "if a cow be- 
comes dry, a witch is appb'ed to, who, in- 
spiring herself with a fondness for some 
other calf, makes her yield her milk." He 
also tells us : " The women who are tmned 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



341 



off (by their husbands) have recourse to 
witches, who are supposed to inflict bar- 
renness, impotence, or the most dangerous 
diseases, on the former husband or his 
new wife." Also, they account every 
woman who fetches fire on May-day a 
witch, nor will they give it to any but sick 
persons, and that with an imprecation, be- 
lieving she will steal all the butter next 
summer. On May-day they kill all hares 
they find among their cattle, supposing 
them the old women who have designs on 
the butter. They imagine the butter so 
stolen may be recovered if they take some 
of the thatch hanging over the door and 
burn it." Britannia, 1789, iii., 659. 

According to a writer of the Georgian 
era, the Irish were partial to philtres. He 
observes: "The spark that's resolved to 
sacrifice his youth and vigour on a damsel, 
whose coyness will not accept of his love- 
oblations, he threads a needle with the 
hair of her head, and then running it thro' 
the most fleshy part of a dead man, as the 
brawn of the arms, thigh, or the calf of 
the leg, the charm has that virtue in it, 
as to make her run mad for him whom she 
so lately slighted." Comical Pilgrim's 
Voyage into Ireland. We read, in Memo- 
rable Things noted in the Description of 
the World, j>p. 111-13, "About children's 
necks the wild Irish hung the beginning 
of St. John's Gospel, a crooked nail of an 
horse-shoe, or a piece of wolves-skin, and 
both the sucking child and nurse were girt 
with girdles finely plated with woman's 
hair : so far they wandered into the ways 
of errour, in making these arms the 
strength of their healths." . . . " Of the 
same people Solinus affirmeth, that they 
are so given to war, that the mother, at 
the birth of a man child, feedeth the first 
meat into her infant's mouth upon the 
point of her husband's sword, and with 
heathenish imprecations wishes that it 
may dye no otherwise then in war, or by 
sword. Giraldus Cambrensis saith, "At 
the baptizing of the infants of the wild 
Irish, their manner was not to dip their 
right arms into the water, that so as they 
thought they might give a more deep and 
incurable blow." Here is a proof^ that 
the whole body of the child was anciently 
commonly immersed in the baptismal font. 
Camden relates that, "if a child is at 
any time out of order, they sprinkle it 
with the stalest urine they can get." 

Scot, in his Discovery, 1584, writes : 
"The Irishmen affirm that not only their 
children, but their cattle are (as they call 
it) Eyebitten, when they fall suddenly 
sick." This statement is repeated by Ady 
(Candle in the Dark, 1659, p. 104). 
Among the Irish, when a woman milks her 
cow, she dips her finger into the milk, 
with which she crosses the beast, and 



piously ejaculates a prayer, saying, "Mary 
and our Lord preserve thee, until I come 
to thee again. " The Irish, when they 
put out a candle, say, ' May the Lord re- 
new, or send us the light of Heaven,' " 
Defoe's Memoirs of Duncan Campbel, 
1734, p. 202. The subsequent passage is in 
Osborne's "Advice to his Son,''^1656, p. 79, 
" The Irish or Welch, during eclipses, run 
about beating kettles and pans, thinking 
their clamour and vexations available to 
the assistance of the higher orbes." A 
foreign editor of English, or rather Irish, 
antiquities, informs us, that the inhabit- 
ants of the sister-island were accustomed, 
when they first beheld the new moon, to 
fall down on their knees, repeat the Lord's 
prayer, and then cry aloud, addressing 
the planet, " Leave us all well as thou 
hast found us." Du Chesne's History of 
England, p. 18. Vallancey also says : 
" The vulgar Irish at this day retain an 
adoration to the new moon, crossing them- 
selves and saying, ' May thou leave us as 
safe as thou has found us.' " Collectanea, 
xiii., 91. Camden, speaking of Ireland, 
says : " In the town when any enter upon 
a public office, women in the streets, and 
girls from the windows, sprinkle them 
and their attendants with wheat and salt. 
And before the seed is put into the ground 
the mistress of the family sends salt into 
the field." Gough's Camden, iii., 659. 
See Jack-Stones. 

Irish Wakes. — The Conclamatio 
among the Romans coincides with the Irish 
cry. The " Mulieres praeficse " exactly cor- 
responds with the women who lead the 
Irish band, and who make an outcry too 
outrageous for real grief. 

" Ut qui conducti plorant in funere, 
dicunt 

Et facivmt prope plura dolentibus ex 
animo." 

That this custom was Phcenician we may 
learn from Virgil, who was very correct 
in the costume of his characters. The con- 
clamatio over the Phoenician Dido, as de- 
scribed by him, is similar to the Irish cry : 

" Lamentis gemituque et foemineo ulu- 
latu 

Tecta fremunt." 
The very word "ululatus," or "hulluloo," 
and the Greek word of the same import, 
have all a strong affinity to each other. 
Campbell mentions that the custom ob- 
tained here of placing a plate of salt over 
the heart. It should seem as if he had 
seen Moresin's remark, by his supposing 
that they consider the salt as the emblem 
of the incorruptible part. "The body 
itself," says he, " being the type of cor- 
ruption." Survey of the South of Ire- 
land, 1777, p. 210. Some have said that 
instead of salt the relatives place snuff, of 



342 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



which the mourners and visitors partake. 
Rich, in his "Irish Hubbub," 1616, 
writes : ' ' Stanyhurst, in his History of 
Ireland, 1584, maketh this report of his 
countreymen : they follow the dead corps 
to the groundj with howling and barbar- 
ous outcries, pitifull in appearance, where- 
of (as he supposeth) grew this proverb, 
' to weep Irish.' Myselfe am partly of 
his opinion, that (indeede) to weepe Irish, 
is to weep at pleasure, without either 
cause or greefe, when it is an usuall mat- 
ter amongst them, upon the buriall of 
their dead, to hire a company of women, 
that for some small recompence given 
them, they will follow the corpse, and 
furnish out the cry with such howling and 
barbarous outcries, that hee that should 
but heare them, and did not know the 
ceremony, would rather thinke they did 
sing than weep. And yet in Dublin it- 
selfe, there is not a corps carried to the 
buriall, which is not followed with this 
kind of mourners, which you shall heare 
by their howling and their hollowing, but 
never see them to shed any tears. Suche 
a kinde of lamentation," he adds, it is 
"as in the judgement of any man that 
should but heare, and did not know their 
custome, would think it to bee some pro- 
digious presagement, prognosticating 
some unlucky or ill successe, as they use to 
attribute to the howling of doggs, to the 
croaking of ravens, and the shrieking of 
owles, fitter for infidels and barbarians, 
than to bee in use and custcme among 
Christians." 

Piers, in his Description of West- 
meath, 1682, observes: "In Ireland 
at funerals they have their wakes, which 
as now they celebrate, were more befitting 
heathens than christians. They sit up 
commonly in a barn or large room, and are 
entertained with beer and tobacco. The 
lights are set up on a table over the dead ; 
they spend most of the night in obscene 
stories and bawdye songs, untill the hour 
comes for the exercise of their devotions ; 
then the priest calls on them to fall to 
their prayers for the soul of the dead, 
which they perform by repetition of aves 
and paters on their beads, and close the 
whole with a ' De Profuudis,' and then 
immediately to the story or song again, 
till another hour of prayer comes. Thus 
is the whole night spent till day. When 
the time of burial comes, all the women 
run out like mad, and now the scene is 
altered, nothing heard but wretched ex- 
clamations, howling and clapping of 
hands, enough to destroy their own and 
others' sense of hearing : and this was of 
old the heathenish custom as Virgil hath 
observed in Dryden's translation : 



' The gaping croud around the body 
stand, 

All weep his fate. 

And hasten to perform the fun'ral 

state.' 

"This they fail not to do, especially if 
the deceased were of good parentage, or 
of wealth and repute, or a landlord, &c. 
and think it a great honour to the dead to 
keep all this coyl, and some have been so 
vain as to hire these kind of mourners to 
attend their dead ; and yet they do not by 
all this attain the end they seem to aim 
at, which is to be thought to mourn for 
the dead ; for the Poet hath well observed : 

' Fortiter ille dolet, qui sine teste dolet.' 

" At some stages, where commonly they 
meet with great heaps of stones in the 
way, the corpse is laid down and the priest 
or priests and all the learned fall again to 
their aves and paters, &c. During this 
office all is quiet and hushed. But this 
done, the corpse is raised, and with it the 
out-cry again. But that done, and while 
the corpse is laying down and the earth 
throwing on, is the last and most vehe- 
ment scene of this formal grief ; and all 
this perhaps but to earn a groat, and from 
this Egyptian custom they are to be 
weaned. In some parts of Connaught, if 
the party deceased were of good note, they 
will send to the wake hogsheads of ex- 
cellent stale beer and wine from all parts, 
with other provisions, as beef, &c., to help 
the expenoe at the funeral, and oftentimes 
more is sent in than can well be spent." 
Vallancey, i., 124. The same writer (Sir 
H. Piers) adds : " After the day of inter- 
ment of a great personage, they count 
four weeks ; and that day four 
weeks all priests and friars, and all 
gentry, far and near, are invited to a 
great feast (usually termed the Month's 
Miud) ; the preparation to this feast are 
masses, said in all parts of the house at 
once, for the soul of the departed ; if the 
room be large, you shall have three or four 
priests together celebrating in the several 
corners thereof ; the masses done, they 
proceed to their feastings ; and after all, 
every priest and friar is discharged with 
his largess." Vallancey, i., 126. The 
author of "The Comical Pilgrim's Pil- 
grimage into Ireland," 1723, says : "When 
a virgin dies, a gailand made of all sorts 
of flowers and sweet herbs, is carried by a 
young woman on her head, before the cof- 
fin, from which hang down two black rib- 
bons, signifying our mortal state, and two 
white, as an emblem of purity and inno- 
cence. The ends thereof are held by four 
young maids, before whom a basket full 
of herbs and flowers is supported by two 
other maids, who strew them along the 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



343 



streats to the place of burial ; then, after 
the deceased, follow all her relations and 
acquaintance." In "The Irish Hudi- 
bras," 1689, is an exaggerated description 
of what is called in the margin ' ' An Irish 
Wake." In the early part of the 18th 
century, this fashion and taste for howl- 
ing at Irish funerals still prevailed . ' 'The 
Comical Pilgrim's Pilgrimage into Ire- 
land," 1723, p. 92. The following 
is from a paper by the third Lord 
Chesterfield: — "When the lower sort 
af Irish, in the most uncivilized 
parts of Ireland, attend the funeral of a 
deceased friend or neighbour, before they 
give the last parting howl, they expostu- 
late with the dead body, and reproach him 
with having died, notwithstanding that 
he had an excellent wife, a milch cow, 
seven fine children, and a competency of 
potatoes." The }Vorld, No. 24. In the 
" Gentleman's Magazine " for August, 
1771, it is said of a girl who was killed by 
lightning in Ireland, that " she could not 
be waked within doors, an expression 
which is explained as alluding to a custom 
among the Irish of dressing their dead in 
their best cloaths, to receive as many visi- 
tors as please to see them ; and this is 
called keeping their wake. The corpse of 
this girl, it seems, was so offensive, that 
this ceremony could not be performed 
within doors." The author of the " Philo- 
sophical Survey of the South of Ireland," 
says, p. 207: "It was formerly usual to 
have a bard to write the elegy of the de- 
ceased, which contained an enumeration 
of his good qualities, his genealogy, his 
riches, &c., the burden being, ' O why did 
he die?" A modern writer on Ireland 
tells us : " It is the custom of this country 
to conduct their dead to the grave in all 
the parade they can display ; and as they 
pass through any town, or meet any re- 
markable person, they set up their howl. 
" Survey of the South of Ireland," pD. 
206, 209-10. A good account of the Wake 
is to be found, as Sir H. Ellis pointed out, 
in the Glossary to Miss Edgeworth's 
" Castle Rackrent." 

ivo or Ives, St. — The patron saint 
of lawyers, on whose feast day. May 19, in 
Normandy, at least, the members of the 
profession in towns used to assemble, and 
partake of good cheer. The Vaux-de- 
Vire of Jean le Houx, by Muirhead, 1875, 
p. li. 

Ivy._ln " Witts Recreations," 1640, 
occurs an epigram on " Christmasse Ivy" : 

"At Christmasse men do alwayes ivy 
get, 

And in each corner of the house it set. 

But why do they, then, use that Bacchus 
weed ? 

Because they mean then Bacchus-like 
to feed.'' 



In the piece called "Hankins Heigh-ho," 
printed in Musarum DeliciEe, 1656, we 
have : 

' ' Thrice had all new - yeares guests 

their yewl guts fiU'd 
With embalm'd veal, buried in Christ- 
mas past : 
Thrice had they ivy herby wreath well 
pill'd ; " 

Aubrey says that, in his time (1678) it was 
customary in several parts of Oxfordshire 
' ' for the maidservant to ask the man for 
ivy to dress the house, and if the man 
denies, or neglects to fetch in ivy, the maid 
steals away a pair of his breeches, and 
nails them up to the gate in the yard or 
highwaj'." 

Ivy-Bush. — Comp. Bush, and see 
Nares, 1859, v. Ivy-Bush. 

Ivy-Girl. — See Holly-Boy. 

Ivy-Leaf. — Lupton, in his "Tenth 
Book of Notable things," No. 87, says: 
"Lay a green ivie-leaf in a dish, or other 
vessel of fair water, either for yourselfe or 
for any other, on New Year's Even at 
night, and cover the water in the said 
vessel, and set it in a sure or safe place, 
until twelfe oven nexte after, (which will 
be the 5th day of Januai-y), and then take 
the said ivie-leafe out of the said water, 
and mark well if the said leafe be fair 
and green as it was before, for then you, 
or the party for whome you lay it into the 
water, will be whole and sound, and safe 
from any sicknesse all the next year fol- 
lowing. But if you find any black spots 
thereon, then you or the parties for whome 
you laid it into the water, will be sicke 
the same year following. And if the spots 
be on the upper part of the leafe toward 
the stalke, tfien the sicknesse or paine will 
be in the head, or in the neck, or there- 
about. And if it be spotted nigh the 
midst of the leaf, then the sicknesse will 
be about the stomach or heart. And like- 
wise judge, that the disease or grief will 
be in that part of the body, according as 
you see the black spots under the same in 
the leafe, accounting the spots in the 
nether or sharp end of the leafe to signify 
the paines or diseases in the feet. And if 
the leafe bee spotted all over, then it sig- 
nifies that you, or the partie, shall dye 
that yeare following. You may prove this 
for many or few, at one time, by putting 
them in water, for everie one a leaf of 
green ivie (so that every leafe be dated or 
marked to whom it doth belong). This 
was credibly told me to be very certain." 
Edit. 1660, p. 300. 

Jack in the Green. — See May 
Games. 

Jack o' or w' a Lanthorn. — See 
Will o' the Wisp. 

Jack o' Lent. — A Jack o' Lent was 



344 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



a puppet, formerly thrown at, in our own 
country, in Lent, like Shrove-cocks. So 
in " The Weakest goes to the Wall," 1600, 
we have, "A mere anatomy, a Jack of 
Lent." Again, in the "Four Prentices 
of London," 1615 : " Now you old Jack of 
Lent, six weeks and upwards." Again, 
in " Green's Tu quoque," 1614, " For if 
a boy, that is throwing at his Jack o' Lent, 
chance to hit me on the shins," &c. Tay- 
lor the Water-poet, in a tract printed in 
1620, personifies under this form the ob- 
servances of the season, with the mad 
pranks of Jack's gentleman-usher ghrove- 
Tuesday, and his footman Hunger. Jona- 
than Couch of Polperro, in his account of 
that Cornish fishing village, 1871, ob- 
serves : "An old custom, now quite de- 
funct, was observed here not long since 
in the beginning of Lent. A figure, made 
up of straw and cast-off clothes, was ear- 
ned round the town, amid much noise and 
merriment, after which it was either 
burnt, shot at, or brought to some other ig- 
nominious end. This image was called 
'Jack o' Lent,' and was doubtless intended 
to represent Judas Iscariot. A dirty 
slovenly fellow is often termed a ' Jack o' 
Lent.' " 

"Then Jake a Lent comes justlinge in 

With the hedpeece of a herynge, 
And say the, repent yowe of yower syn, 
For shame, syrs, leve yower swerynge ; 
And to Palme Sunday doethe he ryde. 
And sprots and herryngs by hys syde, 
And makes an ende of Lenton tyde ! " 
Elderton's Ballad of Lenten Stuffe, 1570, 

Jack Pudding:. — See Merry An- 
drew. 
Jack Stones or Gobstones. — 

Divination at marriages was practised in 
times of the remotest antiquity. Vallan- 
cey tells us that in the "Memoirs of the 
Etruscan Academy of Cortona " is the 
drawing of a picture found in Hercula- 
neum, representing a marriage. In the 
front is a sorceress casting the five stones. 
The writer of the memoir justly thinks 
she is divining. The figure exactly corres- 
ponds with the first and principal cast of 
the Irish purin : all five are cast up, and 
the first catch is on the back of the hand. 
He has copied the drawing : On the back 
of the hand stands one, and the remain- 
ing four on the ground. Opposite the sor- 
ceress is the matron, attentive to the suc- 
cess of the cast. No marriage ceremony 
was performed without consulting the 
Druidess and her purin. Juvenal tells 
us: "Auspices solebant nuptias inter- 
esse." Vallancey adds: "This is now 
played as a game by the youths of both 
sexes in Ireland. The Irish Seic Seona 
(Shec Shona) was readily turned into Jack 
Stones, by an English ear, by which name 



this game is now known by the English in 
Ireland. It has another name among the 
vulgar, viz., Uobstones." 

James's Day, St.— (July 25). The^ 
blessing of new apples upon this day is- 
preserved in the " Manuale ad Usum 
Sarum" : 

" Benedictio Pomorum in Die Sanoti 
Jacobi." 

" Te deprecamur omnipotens Deus ut 
benedicas hunc fructum novorum pom- 
orum : ut qui esu arboris letalis et pomo 
in primo parente justa funeris sententia 
mulctati sumus ; per illustrationem unici. 
filii tui Redemptoris Dei ao Domini nostri 
Jesu Christi & Spiritus Sancti benedic- 
tionem sanctificata sint omnia atque bene- 
dicta : depulsisque primi f acinoris intenta- 
toris insidiis, salubriter ex hujus diei an- 
niversaria solennitate diversis terris eden- 
da germina sumamus per eundem Domi- 
num in unitate ejusdem. Deinde sacer— 
dos aspergat ea aqua benedicta." Edit. 
Eothomagi, 1555, fol. 64-5. In Wiltshire 
and Somersetshire the apples are said to 
be christened on St. James's Day. Hasted 
tells us that "the rector of Cliff, in Sha- 
mel hundred, by old custom^ distributes- 
at his parsonage house on St. James's Day, 
annually, a mutton pye and a loaf, to as 
many persons as chuse to demand it, the 
expence of which amounts to about £15 
per annum." " Hist, of Kent," vol. i. 
p. 537, folio ed. The hay crop is in a 
sufficiently forward state by this time to- 
enable the growers to judge of the pro- 
spects of a good or bad harvest, and there 
is a proverbial expression bearing on this : 

" Till St. James's Day be come and 
gone, 

There may be hops, or there may be- 
none." 

The " Book of Days" says that this is a 
Herefordshire adage ; but it is current inx 
all the hop-districts. On St. James Day,, 
old style, oysters conio in in London ; 
and there is a popular superstition 
still in force, like that relating to. 
goose on Michaelmas Day, that who- 
ever eats oysters on that day will never 
want money for the rest of the year. 

James's, St., Fair. — St. James's. 
Fair, held at Westminster on the 25th 
July, was, in the year 1560, so largely at- 
tended, that a pig was not to be had there, 
we are told by Machyn the diarist, " for- 
mony." And he adds that the ale-wives 
could get nothing to eat or drink till three- 
in the afternoon, and " the chese went 
very well away for Id. p. the pounde." 
On Thursday, the 17th of July, 1651, the- 
Parliament passed a resolution, "That 
the fair usually held and kept yearly at 
St. James's, within the Liberty of the- 
City of Westminster, on or about the 25th.i 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



345 



of July, be forborn this year ; and that no 
fair be kept or held there by any person 
or persons whatsoever, until the Parlia- 
ment shall take further order." Comp. 
May-Fair. 

James's, St., Fair, Bristol— 
A fair was formerly held at Bristol on St. 
James's Day, and it is related by the au- 
thor of Tarlton's " Jests," IGll, that that 
celebrated comedian and his fellow-players 
went down to perform there on one occa- 
sion while the theatres were closed in Lon- 
don. Probably it was at the same time 
that they visited Gloucester and other 
places mentioned in the " Jests." The 
player seems also to have been engaged 
at private houses in the country to give 
entertainments. This must have been 
prior to 1588, when Tarlton died. 

Jericho. — A bye-name for Blackmore 
Priory, Essex, after the Dissolution, when 
the house was adopted by Henry VIII. as 
an occasional resort. Here was born the 
King's natural son by Elizabeth Tach- 
boro, afterward created Duke of Rich- 
mond. Blackmore belonged to the manor 
of Fringreth. 

Jericho, Rose of. — See Bose. 

Jews. — The modern Jews, on the first 
day of the first month Tisri, have a splen- 
did entertainment, and wish each other 
a happy New Year. Vallancey says that 
"there is a passage in Ruth, chap. iv. v. 
7, which gives room to think that the mar- 
riage ring was used by the Jews as a cov- 
enant." He adds, that the Vulgate has 
translated Narthick (which ought to be a 
ring) a shoe. " An Irish Nuirt is an amu- 
let worn on the finger, or arm, a ring." 
Sphsora solis est Narthick, says Buxtorf 
in his Chaldee Lexicon. Collect, xiii., 98. 
The Jews have a custom at this day, when 
a couple are married, to break the glass in 
which the bride and bridegroom have 
drunk, to admonish them of mortality. 
This custom of nuptial drinking appears 
to have prevailed in the Greek Church. 
Leo Modena, speaking of the Jews' con- 
tracts and manner of marrying, says that 
before the writing of the bride's dowry is 
produced, and read, " the bridegroom put- 
teth a ring upon her finger, in the pre- 
sence of two witnesses, which commonly 
used to be the rabbines, saying withal unto 
her : ' Behold, thou art ray espoused wife, 
according to the custome of Moses and of 
Israel.' " Hist, of the Bites of the .Jews, 
translated by Chilmead, 1650, 176. Some- 
thing like the care-cloth is used by the 
modern Jews : from whom it has probably 
been derived into the Christian Church. 
Leo Modena says: "There is a square 
vestment called Taleth, with pendants 
about it, put over the head of the bride- 
groom and the bride together," and Levi 



seems to show that this ' ' square vest- 
ment," or canopy, was of velvet. White, 
in his "History of Selborne," remarks: 
" Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, (Gen. xxxv, 
8) was buried under an oak ; the most 
honourable place of interment, probably, 
next to the Cave of Macphelah (Gen. xxiii. 
9), which seems to have oeen appropriated 
to the remains of the patriarchal family 
alone. We read that when any of the 
sick among the Jews have departed, the 
corpse is taken and laid on the ground, 
and a pillow put under its head ; and the 
hands and feet are laid out even, and the 
body is covered over with a black cloth, 
and a light is set at its head." Levi's "Ac- 
count of the Rites and Ceremonies of the 
Modern Jews," p. 163. Levi says, that 
among the modern Jews, ' ' the corpse is 
carried forward to the grave and interred 
by some of the Society ; and as they go 
forth from the burying-ground, they pluck 
some grass and say, ' They shall spring 
forth from the city, as the grass of the 
earth ' ; meaning at the Day of Resurrec- 
tion." Sites and Geremonies of the Jews, 
169. Bourne cites Gregory as observing, 
that it was customary among the ancient 
Jews, as they returned from the grave, to 
pluck up the grass two or three times, and 
then throw it behind them, saying these 
words of the Psalmist, "They shall flourish 
out of the city, like grass upon the earth," 
which they did to shew that the body, 
though dead, should spring up again as 
the grass. Gregory, Posthuma, 1649, c. 
26. The Jews, in celebrating their Pass- 
over, placed on the table two unleavened 
cakes, and two pieces of the Lamb : to 
this they added some small fishes, because 
of the Leviathan : a hard egg, because of 
the bird Ziz : some meal, because of the 
Behemoth : these three animals being, ac- 
cording to their Rabbinical doctrines, ap- 
pointed for the feast of the elect in the 
other life. The Jewish wives, at this 
Feast, upon a table prepared for that 
purpose, place hard eggs, the symbols of 
Ziz, concerning which the Rabbins have a 
thousand falbulous accounts. Mr. Brand 
saw at the window of a baker's shop in 
London, on Easter Eve, 1805j a Passover 
Cake, with four eggSj bound in with slips 
of paste, crosswaySj m it. He went into 
the shop, and enquired of the baker what 
it meant : he assured him it was a Pass- 
over Cake for the Jews. 

To strike one with a shoe, or cast 
a shoe at one, was regarded by the 
ancient Jews as a mark of indignity 
and contempt, as in the passage of 
the Psalms : " Moab is my washpot ; over 
Edom will I cast out my shoe " — if, indeed, 
it did not imply a resolve to reduce to sub- 
jection, where the leader of a besieging 
force threw a shoe into the city he was 



346 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



about to beleaguer. The Arabs, too, seem 
to have treated this act in a similar light ; 
a person removing his shoe, and throwing 
it towards another, signified thereby his 
readiness to do him homage and be at his 
bidding. Bynseus On the Shoes of the Se- 
hrews, lib. ii. Leo Modena, speaking of 
the modern Jews, tells us that " Some of 
them observe, in dressing themselves in 
the morning, to put on the right stocking 
and right shoe first, without tying it ; then 
afterward to put on the left, and so re- 
turn to the right ; that so they may begin 
and end with the right side, which they 
acount to be most fortunate." 

Jodhian-morian, or Breast- 
plate of Judgement. — A Druidical 
ornament worn upon the breast of the 
chief priest, and supposed to possess the 
power of strangling the deliverer of a false 
decision or sentence. A specimen, from 
the original in the museum of the Royal 
Irish Academy, is engraved in Fairholt's 
Costume, 1860, p. 16. 

Josss. — See Fairs in Scotland. 

John, St., the Baptist's Day. 
— June 30th). Sir John Smythe, in 
his "Instructions, Observations, and 
Orders Militarie," 1595, says: — "An 
ensigne-bearer in the field, carrieing 
his ensigne displayed ought to carry 
the same upright, and never, neither in 
towne nor field, nor in sport, nor earnest, 
to fetche flourishes about his head with 
his ensigne-staffe, aad taffata of his en- 
signe, as the ensigne-bearers of London do 
upon Midsommer Night." Among the 
domestic regulations in the household of 
Robert Wynn, Esq., of Bodscallan, North 
Wales, 17th century, was one that no liq- 
uor but black stock, seven years old, 4 
bushels to a hogshead, refined with some 
roast wheat thrown into it, should be 
drunk on this anniversary. 

The Rev. William Jones, in his " Life of 
Bishop Home," says: "A letter of July 
the 2oth, 1755, informed me that Mr. 
Horne, according to an established custom 
at Magdalen College in Oxford, had be- 
gun to preach betore the University, on 
the day of St. John the Baptist. For the 
preaching of this annual sermon, a per- 
manent pulpit of stone is inserted into a 
corner of the first quadrangle ; and so long 
as the stone pulpit was in use (of which 
I have been a witness), the quadrangle 
was furnish&d round the sides with a large 
fence of green boughs, that the preaching 
might more nearly resemble that of John 
the Baptist in the Wilderness ; and a 
pleasant sight it was : but for many years 
the custom has been discontinued, and the 
assembly have thought it safe to take shel- 
ter under the room of the chapel. In the 
Treasury of St. Denis, according to an ac- 
count printed in 1749, one of the holy re- 



lics is a shoulder-bone of the Baptist, sent 
by the Emperor Heraolius to Dagobert in 
the 7th century. 

John, St., the Baptist's Vigil or 
Eve. — The Pagan rites of this festival at 
the summer sdstice, may be considered 
as a counterpart of those used at the wmr 
ter solstice at Yule-tide. There is one 
thing that seems to prove this beyond the 
possibility of a doubt. In the old Runic 
Fasti, as will be shown elsewhere, a wheel 
was used to denote the Festival of Christ- 
mas. This wheel is common to both festi- 
vities. Thus Durandus, speaking of the 
rites of the Feast of St. John Baptist, in- 
forms us of this curious circumstance, that 
in some places they roll a wheel about to 
signify that the sun, then occupying the 
highest place in the zodiac, is beginning 
to descend. " Rotam quoque hoc die in 
quibusdam locis volvunt, ad significandum 
quod Sol altissimum tunc locum in Coelo 
occupet, et descendere incipiat in Zodi- 
aco.'^ Harl. MSS. 2345 (on vellum). Art. 
100, is an Account of the rites of St. John 
Baptists' s Eve, in which the wheel is also 
mentioned. In the amplified account of 
these ceremonies given by Naogeorgus, we 
read that this wheel was taken up to the 
top of a mountain and rolled down thence ; 
and that, as it had previously been covered 
with straw, twisted about it and set on 
fire, it appeared at a distance as if the 
sun had been falling from the sky. _ And 
he further observes, that the people imag- 
ine that all their ill-luck rolls away from 
them together with this wheel. At Nor- 
wich, says a writer in Current Notes for 
March, 1854, the rites of St. John the 
Baptist were anciently observed, "When 
it was the custom to turn or roll a wheel 
about, in signification of the sun's annual 
course, or the sim, then occupying the 
highest place in the zodiac, was about de- 
scending." There is a very plausible sug- 
gestion to be drawn from a passage in 
Durandus ; it is that these fires had to 
some extent their origin in the necessity 
for an annual fumigation of the atmos- 
phere, wells, springs, &c. The popular 
belief was that at this season noxious ser- 
pents infected the air and water. In Poly- 
dore Vergil, we read: " Oure Midsomer 
bonefyers may seme to have comme of the 
sacrifices of Ceres Goddesse of Corne, that 
men did solemnise with fyres, trusting 
thereby to have more plenty and abound- 
ance of corne. Moresin appears to have 
been of opinion that the custom of leaping 
over these lires is a vestige of the ordeal 
where to be able to pass through fires with 
safety was held to be an indication of in- 
nocence. To strengthen the probability of 
this conjecture, we may observe that not 
only the young and vigorous, but even 
those of grave character used to leap over 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



347 



them, and there was an interdiction of 
ecclesiastical authority to deter clergymen 
from this superstitious instance of agility. 
From the Eoman Calendar it seems that 
spices were given on St. John's Eve, and 
that the festivities included carol-singing, 
processions with garlands, for the purpose 
of collecting money (when recusants were 
freely anathematized by the itinerant 
petitioners), and that fern was gathered 
for the sake of the virtue supposed to re- 
side in its seed. The reader will join me 
in thinking the following extract from 
the Homily " De Festo Sancti Johannis 
Baptistas," a pleasant piece of absurdity : 

" In worshyp of Saint Johan the people 
waked at home, and made three maner of 
fyres : one was clene bones, and noo 
woode, and that is called a bone fyre ; 
another is clene woode, and no bones, and 
that is called a wode fyre, for people to 
sit and wake therby ; the thirde is made 
of wode and bones, and it is callyd Saynt 
Johannys fyre. The first fyre, as a great 
clerke johau Belleth telleth he was in a 
cortayne countrey, so in the countrey there 
was soo greate hete the which causid the 
dragons to go togyther in tokenynge that 
Johan dj'ed in brennynge love and charyte 
to God and man, and they that dye in 
charyte shall have parte of all good 
prayers, and they that do not, shall 
never be saved. Then as these dragons 
flewe in th' ayre they shed down 
to that water froth of thor kynde, and so 
envenymed the waters, and caused moche 
people for to take theyr deth therby, and 
many dy verse sykenesse. Wyse clerkes 
knoweth well that dragons hate nothyng 
more than the stenche of brennynge bones, 
and therefore they gaderyd as many as 
they mighte fynde, and brent them ; and 
so with the stenche therof they drove away 
the dragons, and so they were brought out 
of greete dysease. The second fyre was 
made of woode, for that wyl brenne lyght, 
and wyll be seen farre. For it is the chefe 
of fyre to be seen farre, and betokennynge 
that Saynt Johan was a lanterne of lyght 
to the people. Also the people made biases 
of fyre for that they shulde be scene farre, 
and specyally in the nyght, in token of St. 
Johans having been seen from far in the 
spirit by Jeremiah. The third fyre of 
bones betokenneth Johans martyrdome, 
for hys bones were brente, and how ye 
shall here." The homilist accounts for 
this by telling us that after John's dis- 
ciples had buried his body, it lay till 
Julian, the apostate Emperor, came that 
way, and caused them to be taken up and 
burnt, "and to caste the ashes in the 
wynde, hopynge that he shuld never ryse 
again to lyfe." 

Cleland, in his " Institution of n, 



Young Nobleman," 1607, very aptly 
calls these observances " follies al 
forged by the infernal Cyclops and Plu- 
toes seruants." Hutchinson says it was 
usual to raise fires on the tops of high 
hills, and in the villages, and sport and 
dance around them ; and the same writer, 
speaking of the parish of Cumwhitton in 
Cumberland, says: "They hold the wake 
on the Eve of St. John, with lighting 
fires, dancing, &c. The old Bel-teing." 
Bonfires were lately, or still continue to 
be, made on Midsummer Eve, in the vil- 
lages of Gloucestershire. Brand was so 
informed in passing from Bath to Oxford, 
May 21, 1786. They still prevailed also, 
on the same occasion, in Brand's time, in 
the northern parts or England. Pennant 
informs us that small bonefires were made 
on the Eve of St. John Baptist at Daro- 
wen, in Wales. On Whiteborough (a large 
tumulus with a foss round it), on St. 
Stephen's down, near Launceston, in 
Cornwall, as Mr. Brand learnt at 
that place in October, 1790, there 
was formerly a great bonefire on 
Midsummer Eve : a large summer pole 
was fixed in the centre, round which the 
fuel was heaped up. It had a large bush 
on the top of it. Round this were parties 
of wrestlers contending for small prizes. 
An honest countryman informed him, who 
had often been present at these merri- 
ments, that at one of them an evil spirit 
had appeared in the shape of a black dog, 
since which none could wrestle, even in 
jest, without receiving hurt : in conse- 
quence of which the wrestling was, in a 
great measure, laid aside. The rustics 
hereabout believe that giants are buried 
in these tumuli, and nothing would tempt 
them to be so sacrilegious as to disturb 
their bones. The boundary of each tin 
mine in Cornwall is marked by a long pole, 
with a bush at the top of it. These on St. 
John's Day are crowned with flowers. It 
is usual at Penzance to light fires on this 
occasion, and dance and sing round them. 
In a Collection of Ancient Traditional 
Songs, edited by Mr. Dixon for the Percy 
Society, is inserted one, which, ac- 
cording to Mr. Sandys, has been sung for 
a long series of years in that locality on 
St. John's Day. A clergyman of Devon- 
shire informed Brand that, in that county 
the custom of making bonefires on Mid- 
summer Eve, and of leaping over them, 
still continued. This was about 1790. At 
Barnwell, in Cambridgeshire, St. John's 
Eve used to be celebrated in a somewhat 
similar manner. Comp. BarvweJl Fair. 
In " Lancashire Folklore," 1867, it is said, 
" In parts of Lancashire, especially in 
the Fylde, these traces (the fires) of a 
heathen custom still linger." In "Perth 
Assembly," 1619, the writer speaks of the 



348 



NATIONAL FAUJrli> 



midsummer fires, and cites Bellarmine 
and Scaliger for them. The former says : 
" Fire is accustomed to be kindled for the 
signifying of joy, even in profane things," 
and Scaliger has this remark, that ' ' the 
caudles and torches lighted on Midsum- 
mer Eve are the footsteps of antient gen- 
tilism." 

"I was so fortunate," (says a Skye 
correspondent of the " Gent. Mag." for 
February, 1795), " in the summer of 1782 
as to have my curiosity gratified by a 
sight of this ceremony to a very great ex- 
tent of country. At the house where I 
was entertained, it was told me that we 
should see at midnight the most singular 
sight in Ireland, which was the lighting of 
fires in honour of the sun. Accordingly, 
exactly at midnight, the fires began to 
iippear, and taking the advantage of going 
.up to the leads of the house, which had a 
widely extended view, I saw on a radius 
of thirty miles, all around, the fires burn- 
ing on every eminence which the country 
afforded. I had a farther satisfaction in 
learning, from undoubted authority, that 
the people danced round the fires, and at 
the close went through these fires, and 
made their sons and daughters, together 
with their cattle, pass through the fire ; 
and the whole was conducted with religi- 
ous solemnity." In the " Statistical Ac- 
count of Scotland," parish of Mongahit- 
ter, it is said: "The Midsummer Even 
fire, a relic of Druidism, was kindled in 
some parts of this county." The late 
Mr. Samuel Laing, the highly distin- 
guished writer, who was born in 1810, re- 
lates that, when he was young, these fires 
were lighted on the highest hills of Orkney 
and Shetland. " As a boy," he writes, 
"I have rushed with my playmates 
through the smoke of those bonfires with- 
out a suspicion that we were repeating the 
homage paid to Baal in the Valley of Hin- 
nom." Human Origins, 1897, p. 161. 
Among the Privy Purse Expenses of 
Henry VII. we have, under date of 
June 23, 1493: "To the makyng of the 
bonefuyr on Middesomer Eve, 10s." In 
the Privy Purse Expenses of Elizabeth 
of York, 1502, there is the following 
entry: "Itm., the xxviijth day of Juyn, 
to the gromes and pages of the halle for 
making bonefyres upon the evyns of 
-Saint John Baptist and Saint Peter, 5s." 
In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. 
Martin Outwich we have: "1524. Payde 
for bvrche and bromes at Mydsom', ijd." 
-"1525. Payde for byrch and bromes at 
Mydsom'. iijd." In Dekker's " Seaven 
deadly Sinues of London," speaking of 
" Candell-light, or the Nocturnall Tri- 
umph," he says : " MTiat expectation was 
there of his coming? setting aside the bon- 



fiers, there is not more triumphing on 
Midsommer Night." In the same writer's 
" Wonderful Yeare," 1603, signat. B. we 
read : " Olive-trees (which grow no where 
but in the Garden of Peace) stood (as 
common as beech does at Midsomer) at 
every mans doore." In Brown's " Snep- 
heards Pipe," 1614, occur the following 
lines : 

" Neddy, that was wont to make 
Such great feasting at the wake. 
And the blessing-fire — " 

with a marginal note upon blessing fire 
(by the author) informing us that ' ' the 
Midsummer fires are tearmed so in the 
west parts of England." Stow tells us 
that the rites of St. John Baptist's Eve 
were also used on the Eve of St. Peter and 
St. Paul. Piers, Description of West- 
mcath, 1682, apud Vallancey, makes the 
same remark touching Ireland or at least 
that part of it ; and Moresin informs us 
that in Scotland the people used, on this 
latter night, to run about on the moun- 
tains and higher grounds with lighted 
torches, like the Sicilian women of old in 
search of Proserpine. Moresin thinks this 
a vestige of the ancient Cerealia. Compare 
St. Peter's Day. In Niccols' "London 
Artillery," 1616, p. 97, is preserved a long 
description of the great doings anciently 
used in the streets of London on the vigils 
of St. Peter and St. John the Baptist: 
"when," says our author, "that famous 
marching--watch, consisting of two thou- 
sand, beside the standing watches, were 
maintained in this citie. It continued 
from temp. Henrie III. to the 31st of 
Henry VIII. when it was laid down by 
licence from the King, and revived (for 
that year only) by Sir Thomas Gresham, 
Lord Mayor, 2 Edw. VI." 

Mr. Brand saw in the possession of 
Douce a French print, entitled " L'este le 
Feu de la St. Jean," from the hand of 
Mariette. In the centre was the fire 
made of wood piled up very regularly, and 
having a tree stuck up in the midst of it. 
Young men and women were represented 
dancing round it hand in hand. Herbs 
were stuck in their hats and caps, and 
garlands of the same surrounded their 
waists, or were slung across their shoul- 
ders. A boy was represented carrying a 
large bough of a tree. Several specta- 
tors were looking on. The following lines 
were at the bottom : — 

" Que de Feux brulans dans les airs ! 

Qu'ils font une douce harmonie ! 

Redoublons cette melodie 

Par nos dances, par nos concerts I" 
In the "Traite des Superstitions" we 
read : " Whoever desires to know the col- 
our of his future wife's hair has only to 
walk three times round the fire of St. 



- ^iMu-jrvc-u±AR CUSTOMS. 



349 



John, and when the fire is half-extin- 
guished he must take a brand, let it go out, 
and then put it under his pillow, and the 
next morning he will find encircling it 
threads of hair of the desired colour. But 
this must be done with the eyes shut." 
Tom. iii. p. 455. We are further told that 
where there is a widow or a marriageable 
girl in a house, it is necessary to be very 
careful not to remove the brands, as this 
drives away lovers. Midsummer Eve fes- 
tivities are still kept up in Spain. "At 
Alcala, in Andalusia," says Dalrymple, in 
his "Travels through Spain and Portu- 
gal," " at twelve o'clock at night, we were 
much alarmed with a violent knocking at 
the door. ' Quiens es P ' saj's the land- 
lord ; ' Isabel de San Juan,' replied a 
voice : he got up, lighted the lamp, and 
opened the door, when five or six sturdy 
fellows, armed with fusils, and as many 
women, came in. After eating a little 
bread, and drinking some brandy, they 
took their leave ; and we found that, it 
being the Eve of St. John, they were a 
set of merry girls with their lovers, going 
round the village to congratulate their 
friends on the approaching festival." A 
gentleman who had resided long in Spain 
informed me that in the villages they fight 
up fires on St. John's Eve, as in England, 
Lemnius, in his "Treatise de Occultis 
Naturse Miraculis," lib. iii. cap. 8, re- 
marks upon the enthusiasm with which the 
ceremonies peculiar to St. John's Day 
were observed, not only by the Jews and 
Christians, but by the Moors and other 
peoples not professing Christianity. The 
same writer remarks, that the Low Dutch 
have a proverb, that "when men have 
passed a troublesome night's rest, and 
could not sleep at all, they say. We have 
passed St. John Baptist's Night ; that is, 
we have not taken any sleep, but watched 
all night ; and not only so, but we have 
been in great troubles, noyses, clamours, 
and stirs, that have held us waking." 
"Some," he previously observes, "by a 
superstition of the Gentiles, fall down 
before his image, and hope to be thus freed 
from the epileps ; and they are further 
persuaded, that if they can but gently go 
unto this Saint's shrine, and not cry out 
disorderly, or hollow like madmen when 
they go, then they shall be a whole year 
free from this disease ; but if they attempt 
to bite with their teeth the Saint's head 
they go to kisse, and to revile him, then 
they shall be troubled with this disease 
every month, which commonly comes with 
the course of the moon, yet extream jug- 
lings and frauds are wont to be concealed 
under this matter." 

Pecock, in his "Repressor of over 
much Blaming of the Clergy," refers 
to the custom which held in London 



on the Eve of St. John the Baptist, 
of decorating the houses with flowers. 
" Certis," says he, " thouz Grist and 
his Apostlis weren now lyvyng at 
Londoun, and wolde bringe so as is 
now seid braunchis fro Bischopis wode and 
flouris fro the feeld into Loundoun, and 
wolden delyvere to men that thei make 
there with her housis gay, into remem- 
braunce of Seint Johan Baptist," &e. 
Stow, in his "Survey," tells us, "that, 
on the vigil of St. John Baptist, every 
man's door being shadowed with green 
birch, long fennel, St. John's wort, orpin, 
white lilies, and such like, garnished upon 
with garlands of beautiful flowers, had 
also lamps of glass with oil burning in them 
all the night. Some," he adds, "hung 
out branches of iron, curiously wrought, 
containing hundreds of lamps lighted at 
once." Coles, in his " Adam in Eden," 
speaking of the birch-tree, says: "I re- 
member once, las I rid through Little 
Brickhill, in Buckinghamshire, which is 
a town standing upon the London-road, 
between Dunstable and Stony-Stratford, 
every signe-post in the towne almost was 
bedecked with green birch." This had 
been done, no doubt, on account of Mid- 
summer Eve. Pennant informs us that, 
in Wales " they have the custom of stick- 
ing St. John's wort over the doors on the 
eve of St. John Baptist." It was formerly 
believed that if anyone fell asleep in the 
church porch on Midsummer Eve, he would 
die the same year. — Spence's Anecdotes, 
1858, 371, note. Bourne cites from the 
TruUan Council a singular species of divi- 
nation on St. John Baptist's Eve: "On 
the 23rd of June, which is the eve of St. 
John Baptist, men and women were accus- 
tomed to gather together in the evening 
by the sea-side, or in some certain houses, 
and there adorn a girl, who was her par- 
ents' first-begotten child, after the man- 
ner of a bride. Then they feasted and 
leaped after the manner of Bacchanals, 
and danced and shouted as they were wont 
to do on their holidays : after this they 
poured into a narrow-neck'd vessel some 
of the sea-water, and put into it certain 
things belonging to each_of them. Then, 
as if the Devil gifted the girl with the 
faculty of telling future things, they 
would enquire with a loud voice about the 
good or evil fortune that should attend 
them : upon this the girl would take out 
of the vessel the first thing that came to 
hand, and shew it, and give it to the 
owner, who, upon receiving it, was so fool- 
ish as to imagine himself wiser, as to the 
good or evil fortune that should attend 
him." The following occurs in " The 
Practice" of Paul Barbette: "For the 
falling sickness some ascribe much to coals 
pulled out (on St. John Baptist's Eve) 



350 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



from under the roots of mugwort : but 
those authors are deceived, for they are 
not coals, but old acid roots, consisting of 
much volatile salt, and are almost alwa;^s 
to be found under mugwort : so that it is 
only a certain superstition that those old 
dead roots ought to be pulled up on the 
eve of St. John Baptist, about twelve at 
night." Bishop Hall says that, St. John 
is implored for a benediction wine upon 
his day." In Current Notes, April, 1853, 
it is mentioned, on the authority of Au- 
brey, that near Bisley Church, in Surrey, 
there is a well dedicated to St. John the 
Baptist, which is cold in summer and 
warm in winter. This was usually, not 
always, the Merchant Taylors' feast-day. 
St. John the Baptist is said in the Scrip- 
tural narrative to have fed, during his 
sojourn in the wilderness, on locusts and 
wild honey. The locust or carob-tree is 
.still common in the Levant, and yields a 
pulp, contained in a pod. It is vulgarly 
known to this day as St. John's Bread. 
Comp. Bonfires, Coal, Midsummer. 

John, St., the Evang^ellst. — 
(December 27). The custom of giving wine 
on the Day of St. John the Evangelist is 
noticed under St. Stephen's Day. It 
appears that the common people in the 
Moray parish of Duffus, used to "cele- 
brate (perhaps without ever thinking of 
the origin of the practice) St. John's Day, 
St. Stephen's Day, Christmas Day, &c. by 
assembling in large companies to play at 
football, and to dance and make merry. 
That horror at the name of holidays which 
was once a characteristic of the Puritans 
and true blue Presbyterians, never took 
possession of them." " Stat. Account of 
Scotland," vol. viii., p. 399; parish of 
Duffus, county of Moray. I append what 
Naogeorgus says : 

" Nexte John the sonne of Zebedee hath 

his appoynted day. 
Who once by cruell tyraunts will, con- 

strayned was they say 
Strong poyson up to drinke, therefore 

the Papistes doe beleeve 
That whoso puts their trust in him, no 

poyson them can greeve. 
The wine beside that halowed is, in wor- 
ship of his name. 
The Priestes doe give the people that 

bring money for the same. 
And after with the selfe same wine are 

little manchets made 
Agaynst the boystrous winter stormes, 

and sundrie such like trade. 
The men upon this solemne day, do take 

this holy wine 
To make them strong, so do the maydes 
to make them faire and iine." 
The Popish Kinqdome, translated by 
Googe, 1570, fol. 45. 

Johnny Cake.— A cake made of 



Indian flour without yeast, and baked on 
a pewter plate before the fire. It was a 
standing dish at the afternoon meal in 
New England about 1785. It is yet 
remembered, if not so usual. W. C. Haz- 
litt's Four Generations of a Literary 
Family, 1897. i., 38. 

Judas Candles. — In the Church- 
wardens' Accompts of St. Martin Out- 
wich, London, under the year 1510, is the 
following article : " Paid to Randolf Mer- 
chaunt, wex-chandiler for the Pascall, the 
tapers alfore the Rode, the Cross candelles 
and Judas Candelles, ix'. iiij*." 

Jueg:o de Cartas. — This, as a note 
in the Diary of Henry Machyn informs 
us, was an amusement introduced by the 
Spaniards, who were very numerous in 
London in the reign of Mary. Machyn 
mentions the pastime as one of the enter- 
tainments prepared at the marriage of 
Lord Strange to the Earl of Cumberland's 
daughter in February^ 1554-5. But the 
fact is, that the sport is as ancient as the 
twelfth century, and was known in Italy, 
at least, as early as the reign of our Rich- 
ard I. Strutt prints an anecdote illustra- 
tive of this from Hoveden. In the par- 
ticular instance recorded by Machyn, the 
cane play was not introduced till after 
supper, and was then carried on by torch- 
light. The editor of Machyn has illus- 
trated his entry respecting the game 
by an interesting note. It is possible, 
however, that the sport was not much 
used in England till the reign of Henry 
VIII., and there may be no specific record 
of it ever having been practised before 
1518 ; but that it was known in this coun- 
try at a much earlier date seems, at all 
events, open to argument. Francis Yox- 
ley, writing to Sir W. Cecil from the 
Court, 12th Oct. 1554, says: " Uppon 
Thursday next, there shalbe in Smithfield 
Guioco di Canne : where the King and 
Queue wolbe. — " Ellis's Orig. Letters, 
3rd S. iii., 313. In Lawrence Twyne's 
Patterne of Painfull Adventures, first 
published about 1576, it is mentioned un- 
der the name of ioco di can among the 
sports at the wedding of AppoUonius and 
Lucina. Hazlitt's Shakespear's Library, 
1875, iv., 279. James Howell must 
refer to some other unknown sport, 
where, in a letter to Sir Thomas Lake, 
July 3, 1629, he says: "I have 
shewed Sir Kenelm Digby both our 
translations of Martials ' Vitam quae 
faciunt beatoriem,' &c., and to tell you 
true, he adjudged yours the better; so I 
shall pay the wager in the place appointed 
and try whether I can recover myself at 
Gioco d'amore, which the Italian saith is 
a play to cozen the Devil." 

JuggrJet-s. — Like his contemporary 
Shakespear, Bacon did not scruple or dis- 
dain to avail himself of all possible ve- 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



351 



hides for illustration or comparison. When 
he wrote in his admirable Sylva Sylvarum 
the passage copied below, he had in his 
remembrance a scene at which he had been 
present ; it is a curious bit — a fragment 
of the popular street-life of London, which 
one would have rather expected to encoun- 
ter in the pages of Strutt or Brand : 

"What a little moisture will doe in 
vegetables, even though they be dead, and 
severed from the earth, appoareth wel in 
the Experiment of luglers. They take the 
beard of an oate ; which, (if you mark it 
well), is wreathed at the bottome, and one 
smooth entire straw at the top. They 
take onely the part that is wreathed, and 
cut off the other, leaving the beard halfe 
the breadth of a finger in length. Then 
they make a little crosse of a quill, long- 
wayes of that part of the quill, which hath 
the pith ; and crosse-wayes of that peece 
of the quill without pith ; the whole crosse 
being the breadth of a finger high. Then 
they pricke the bottome where the pith is, 
and thereinto they put the oaten-beard, 
leaving halfe of it sticking forth of the 
quill : Then they take a little white box 
of wood, to deceive men, as if somewhat 
in the box did work the feat : in which, 
with a pinne, they make a little hole, 
enough to take the beard, but not to let 
the crosse sink downe, but to stick. Then 
likewise by way of imposture, they make a 
question ; as, who is the fairest woman in 
the company F or. Who hath a glove or 
card? and cause another to name divers 
persons : And upon every naming they 
stick the crosse into the box, having first 
put it towards their mouth, as if they 
charmed it ; and the crosse stirreth not ; 
but when they come to the person that 
they would take ; as they hold the cross 
to their mouth, they touch the beard with 
the tip of their tongue, and wet it ; and 
BO stick the crosse in the box; and then 
you shall see it turne finely and softly, 
three or foure turnes ; which is caused by 
the untwining of the beard by the mois- 
ture. You may see it more evidently, if 
you sticke the crosse betweene your fingers 
in stead of the box ; and therefore you 
may see, that this motion, which is effected 
by so little wet, is stronger than the clos- 
ing or bending of the head of a marigold." 
The Essay of Hazlitt on a Performance 
of Indian Jugglers was partly with a view 
to vindicate the pretensions of physical or 
mechanical ingenuity. 

Julian, St. — "There were three or 
four saints of this name; but the best 
known was the saint, who is the supposed 
patron and protector of pilgrims and tra- 
vellers. The history of this St. Julian is 
in the " Gesta Romanorum " and else- 
where. He was a knight, who found, on 



returning to his house one day, two per- 
sons asleep in his bed. He thought that 
his wife had been unfaithful to him, and 
immediately slew the supposed guilty pair, 
who turned out to be his father and 
mother, who had travelled from a distant 
land to see him. He thereupon founded a 
hospital for travellers : hence he acquired 
the name of Hospitator, or the gude her- 
berjour. " Simon the Leper," it is noted 
by Warton, " at whose house our Saviour 
lodged in Bethany, is called in the legends 
Julian the good herborow, and Bishop of 
Bethpaze. In the Tale of Beryn, St. 
Julian is invoked to revenge a traveller, 
who had been traitorously used in his lodg- 
ings." He is mentioned in the " Kyng 
and the Hermyt" : 

" I have herd pore men call at morrow, 
Seynt .July an send yem god harborow, 

When that they had nede. 
Seynt Julian as I am trew knyzt. 
Send me grace this iche nyght 

Of god harborow to sped — " 

And again in the same : — 

" Then seyd the Kyng that tyde. 
Now, seynt Jvilian, a bonne ventyll. 
As pylgrymes know full wele" — 

Hazlitt's Popular Poetry, 1864, i. 16-17. 
In the " Ancren Riwle " (13th century) 
we have : ' ' Surely they (the pilgrims) find 
St. Julian's inn, which way faring men 
diligently seek." Chaucer had the fami- 
liar attribute of St. Julian before him, 
when he described his Frankeleyn, or coun- 
try gentleman : 

" An housholder, and that a grete, was 

he : 
Seint Julian he was in his contre." 

Justina of Padua, St. — (October 
7). See Hazlitt's Venetian Pepuhlic, 1900, 
ii., 380. The Battle of Lepanto was 
gained on her name-day, 1571, and two 
types of coins in silver, the giustina mag- 
giore and minore, were struck to comme- 
morate the victory. They remained in 
circulation and use long after the occur- 
rence. 

Kate Kennedy's Day in St. 
Andrews. — In the Baily News of 
February 21, 1874, occurs : — " The annual 
demonstration by the fourth year stu- 
dents of St. Andrew's University, in com- 
memoration of Kate Kennedy, supposed 
to have been a daughter of Bishop Ken- 
nedy, the founder of the College, was ob- 
served this afternoon with more than the 
usual pomp and brilliancy of display. At- 
tempts have frequently been made by sev- 
eral of the professors to stamp the demon- 
stration out, but their interference has 
only had the effect of imparting to it a 
vigour and impoi'tauce it never before pos- 



352 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



sessed. To-day's celebration was fully 
equal to that of any former year. About 
noon " Kate," equipped in riding habit, 
appeared, followed by a retinue, gorge- 
ously attired. The College and Profes- 
sors' houses were duly honoured with a 
call. During their progress throughout 
the city the processionists busied them- 
selves vending their "annual" and the 
carte. Principal and Professors are re- 
presented as an assembly of immortals on 
Mount Olympus considering the Lady Stu- 
dents question. Kneeling before the 
presiding deity is a lady student, while 
in the background is seen the shade of 
John Stuart Mill, bearing in his hand the 
gift of £5,000. The demonstration passed 
ofi with the usual eclat. 

Kayles. — From the French quilles. 
The original nine-pins. In France, dur- 
ing the middle ages, if not among us, 
there was a variety known as jeu dc quilles 
a baston, where the player aimed with a 
stick at the pins, instead of with a bowl. 
This form was known in England, at all 
events at an early date, as club-kayles. 
Wright's Domestic Manners, 1862, p. 236, 
where an illustration of club-kayles may 
be seen. 

Kelpie^ — In the " Statistical Account 
of Scotland," under Parish of St. Vig- 
eans, co. Caithness, we are told : " A tra- 
dition had long prevailed here, that the 
Water-Kelpy (called in Home's 'Douglas' 
the angry Spirit of the Water), carried 
the stones for building the church, under 
the fabrick of which there was a lake of 
great depth." Mr. Campbell, in Popular 
Tales of the West Highlands, 1860, ii 193-4 
says very little about this spectre, and 
what he does say, I confess that I do not 
perfectly follow. But in Mr. George Mao- 
donald's Ronald Bannerman's Boyhood, 
1871, there is a curious and rather thrill- 
ing account, which seems worth copying 
hither. It occurs in one of the tales which 
Kirsty, the female farm-servant, used to 
relate to the children — not, one hopes to- 
wards bedtime, if they partook of the same 
character as this. The kelpie is described 
as an awful aquatic creature, emerging 
from its native element only to pursue 
human prey. One afternoon it appears 
that a shepherd's daughter, remarkable 
for her beauty, went to the glen to meet 
her lover, and after staying with him till 
it was dark, returned home, passing on 
the way the kelpie's lair. He had seen 
her, and because she was so fair, he de- 
sired to eat her. She heard a great whish 
of water behind her. That was the water 
tumbling off the beasts' s back as he came 
up from the bottom. If she ran before, 
she flew now. And the worst of it was 
that she could not hear him behind her. 



so as to tell whereabouts he was. He might 
be just opening his mouth to take her 
every moment. At last she reached the 
door, which her father, who had gone out 
to look for her, had set wide open that 
she might run in at once; but all the 
breath was out of her body, and she fell 
down ilat just as she got inside. " Here 
Allister jumped up from his seat, clap- 
ping his hands, and crying ' Then the 
kelpie didn't eat her ! — Kirsty ! Kirsty !' 
' No, but as she fell, one foot was left 
outside the threshold, so that the rowan 
branch (which the shepherd kept over the 
door to prevent the kelpie from ever enter- 
ing) would not take care of it. And the 
beast laid hold of the foot with his great 
mouth, to drag her out of the cottage and 
eat her at his leisure.' Here Allister's 
face was a picture to behold ! His hair 
was almost standing on end, his mouth 
was open, and his face as white as my 
paper. ' Make haste, Kirsty,' said 
Turkey, ' or Allister will go in a fit.' 'But 
her shoe came off in his mouth, and she 
drew in her foot, and was safe.' " But 
the more natural solution of the difficulty 
may be that the kelpie was a creature 
supposed or alleged to lurk among the kelp 
or sea-weed, which in some coasts not only 
grows to an incredible height and size, 
but disposes itself in all sorts of fantastic 
and weird forms. The kelp manufacture 
used in the eighteenth century to be a 
staple industry in the Orkneys and Heb- 
rides, and during the Peninsular War be- 
came for a time enormously lucrative. 
Superstition made the Sootish spirit one- 
eyed, as an imperfectly authorized tradi- 
tion makes Polyphemus and his country- 
men, or rather Polyphemus, for of the rest 
no description is given in the Odyssey. 
Mr. Campbell says the Cyclops was a 
water-spirit, as well as the kelpie, for no 
better reason apparently than because he 
was sometimes fabled to be the son of Nep- 
tune. There is surely no hint of such an' 
idea in Homer. There is a good deal of 
uncertainty and confusion about the Cy- 
clopes, which it might be both practicable 
and profitable to remove. But the connec- 
tion between them and the kelpie is not 
manifest, since Polyphemus at least was 
one-eyed, and nowhere appears as a marine 
monster. Kelpie is supposed to owe itself 
to kelp, its lurking-place, although the 
word is also traced to the German 
chalp or kalb, from the roar which the 
monster utters : and the kelpie is else- 
where described as a horse-fiend which 
lures riders by its attractive aspect, 
and then bears them off, where it 
may devour them at its leisure. Allies' 
Antiquities of Worcestershire, 2nd ed. 
1856, p. 468. The more probable etymology, 
however, seems to be that first sug- 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



gested. The legend is easily explained 
by the constant howling of the ocean 
on a wild shore and the fantastic 
forms assumed by the sea-weed, especially 
if seen after dusk. 

Kenan, St., of Ireland.— See 
Mr. Hart's Lectionarium, printed from 
an unique MS., 1869. This saint's day 
was November 24th. 

Kenelm's, St., Salop. — At the 
wake held at the small village of St. Ken- 
elm's, CO. Salop, called Kenelm's Wake, 
or Crab Wake, the inhabitants have a sin- 
gular custom of pelting each other with 
crabs : and even the clergyman seldom 
escapes as he goes to, or comes from, the 
chapel. Gent. Mag., Sept. 1797. 

Kern or Corn Baby. — See Harvest 
Doll. 

Kern Supper.^See Harvest. 

Keyna or Keyne, St., the Vir- 
gin.— (October 8). Mr. Pengelly, in his 
Antiquity of Man in the South West of 
England, 1887, p. 13, speaks of a pilgrim- 
age, which this saint paid to St. Michael's 
Mount in a.d. 490, on the authority of 
Borlase. Antiquities of Cornwall, 1769, p. 
385. Her well is among the traditionary 
stories of the county. Carew, in his "Sur- 
vey," written long before it was printed 
in 1602, refers to it. Subjoined is the 
well-known ballad on the subject : 

" ' Now art thou a bachelor, stranger?' 
quoth he, 
' For an if thou hast a wife, 
The happiest draught thou hast drunk 
this day 
That ever thou didst in thy life. 
Or has thy good woman, if one thou 
hast, 
Ever here in Cornwall been ? 
For an if she have, I'll venture my life 
She has drunk of the ivell of St. 
Keyne.' 
' I have left a good woman who never 
was here,' 
The stranger he made reply, 
' But that my draught should be better 
for that, 
I pray you answer rae why? ' 
' St. Keyne,' quoth the Cornishman, 
'many a time 
Drank of this crystal well. 
And before the angel summon'd her. 

She laid on the water a spell: — 
If the husband of this gifted well 

Shall drink before his wife, 
A happy man henceforth is he. 

For he shall be master for life. 
But if the wife should drink of it first, — 

Oh, pity the husband then ! ' 
The stranger stoop'd to the well of St. 
Keyne, 
And drank of the water again. 



353 

' You drank of the well I warrant be- 
times ? ' 
He to the Cornishman said : 
But the Cornishman smiled as the stran- 
ger spake, 
And sheepishly shook his head." 

Kidderminster. — At Kidder- 
minster is a singular custom. On the 
election of a bailiff, the inhabitants as- 
semble in the principal streets to throw 
cabbage stalks at each other. The town- 
house bell gives signal for the affray. This 
is called lawless hour. This done (for it 
lasts an hour)^ the bailiff elect and corpo- 
ration, in their robes, preceded by drums 
and fifes (for they have no waits), visit 
the old and new bailiff, constables, &c., 
&c., attended by the mob. In the mean- 
time, the most respectable families in the 
neighbourhood are invited to meet and 
fling apples at them on their entrance. I 
have known forty pots of apples expended 
at one house. 

Kilken.— "In the Parish of Kilken, 
on the side of the turnpike-road, not far 
from Kilken Hallj is the noted Ffynnon 
Leinw, or the flowing well : a large oblong 
well with a double wall round it. This is 
taken notice of by Camden for its flux and 
reflux, but the singularity has ceased since 
his time, according to the best informa- 
tion I can receive." Pennant's " Tours 
in Wales," ed. 1810, vol. ii. p. 59-60. 

King: by Your Leave. — This oc- 
curs without any explanation, as a phrase 
in the mouth of the clown, toward the end 
of the play of Mucedorus, 1598. Hum- 
phrey King says : " Methinks a King by 
birth, as I am, should not debase himselfe 
to intreate so much. And yet I remember 
an old school-boyes game of King by your 
Icace (ever since I was a boy my selfe), and 
so I am afraid you will cry, ' King by 
your leave, we are to haue a bout with you, 
beare it off with the head and shoulders 
how you can.' " Ealfepennyworth of 
Wit, 1613, Dedic. 

One of the company assumes the right of 
occupying a certain spot, generally ele- 
vated, and if a mound of earth, so much 
the better, and drives his companions off 
with 

" I am the King of the Castle : 
" Get out, you dirty rascal ! " 
till one of the rascals succeeds in dethron- 
ing the monarch, and usurps his place. It 
is far from impossible that this game may 
really be of some antiquity, and may have 
originated in some political source. The 
hidden moral does not strike us as far be- 
low the surface. 

Kingr-Game or Kingham. — The 
pageant of the three Kings of Cologne. 
See Three Kings of Cologne, infra, and 
Nares, Glossary, 1859, in v. Under the 



354 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



parish of St. Laurence, Reading, we read : 
"a.d. 1499. It. payd for horse mete to the 
horses for the kyngs of Colen on May-day, 
vjd." A note adds : " This was a part of 
the pageant called the King-play, or King- 
game, which was a representation of the 
Wise Men's Offering, who are supposed 
by the Romish Church to have been kings, 
and to have been interred at Cologne." 
Then follows : "It. payd to mynstrells the 
same day, xijd." Lysous, in his Extracts 
from the Churchwardens' and Chamber- 
lain's Accounts at Kingston-upon-Thames 
("Environs of London," vol. i. p. 225), 
affords us some curious particulars of the 
King-game, and in another quotation 
from the same accounts, 24 Hen. VII. the 
" cost of the Kyngham and Robyn-Hode " 
appears in one entry, viz. : 

£ s. d. 
A kylderkin of 3 halfpennye here 
and a kilderkin of singgyl 

here 2 4 

7 bushels of whete 6 3 

2 bushels and § of rye 1 8 

3 shepe 5 

A lamb 14 

2 calvys 5 4 

6 pygges 2 

3 bushels of colys 3 

The coks for their labour 1 11^ 

The clear profits, 15 Henry VIII. (the last 
time Lysons found it mentioned) 
amounted to £9 10s. 6d.j a very consider- 
able sum. Was the child's game called 
"King I am" a derivative from this.P 
Comp. Children's Games. 

King of Cockneys (At Lin- 
coln's Inn). — See Christmas Prince. 

King: of the Castle. — See King by 
your leave. 

King's Evil.— Scot says: "To heal 
the King or Queen's Evil, or any other 
soreness in the throat, first touch the place 
with the hand of one that died an un- 
timely death : otherwise let a virgin fast- 
ing lay her hand on the sore and say : 
Apollo denyeth that the heat of the plague 
can increase where a naked virgin quench- 
eth it : and spet three times upon 
it." Discovery, ed. 1665, 137. The 
seventh son of a seventh son is ac- 
counted an infallible doctor. Lupton 
says: "It is manifest, by experience, 
that the seventh male child, by just 
order, (never a girle or wench being born 
between) doth heal only with touching 
(through a natural gift) the King's Evil : 
which is a speciall gift of God, given to 
kings and queens, as daily experience doth 
witnesse." There was, in the 18th cen- 
tury, in the parish of Kilfynichen, a man 
named Tunis who touched for the evil. 
He was a seventh son, and was firmly 
credited with the faculty of a ring. An 
official report of the day says: "He 



touches or rubs over the sore with his 
hand, two Thursdays and two Sundays 
successively, in the name of the Trinity, 
and says, ' It is God that cures.' He asks 
nothing for his trouble. It is believed if 
he did, there would be no cure. He is 
often sent for out of the country ; and, 
though he asks nothing, yet the patients 
or their friends make him presents. He 
is perfectly illiterate, and says he does 
not know how the cure is effected, but 
that God is pleased to work it in conse- 
quence of bis touch." Stat. Ace, xiv., 
210. The author of the old account of 
Gisborough, in Yorkshire, describes this 
knowledge as a species of intuition, and 
states that the mere touch would suffice. 
Antiq. Bepert., 1807, iii., 304. Lupton 
says : " Three nails made in the vigil of 
the nativity of St. John Baptist, called 
Midsommer Eve, and driven in so deep 
that they cannot be seen, in the place 
where the party doth fall that hath the 
falling sicknesse, and naming the said par- 
ties name while it is doing, doth drive 
away the disease quite." He says in the 
same page, "The root of vervin hanged 
at the neck of such as have the king's evil, 
it brings a marvellous and unhoped help." 
Notable Things, ed. 1660, p. 40. 
" Squire Morley, of Essex," according to 
the Rev. George Ashby, "used to say a 
prayer which he hoped would do no harm, 
when he hung a bit of vervain root from 
a scrophulous person's neck. My aunt 
Freeman had a very high opinion of a 
baked toad in a silk bag, hung round the 
neck." Note in his copy of Brand and 
Bourne. The virtue of the seventh son of 
a seventh son is a belief also current on 
the continent. Thiers, Traite des Super- 
stitions i., 436-7 Delrio. Disq. Magicce, 
i., 3. Delrio adds that fasting was con- 
sidered a necessary preparation on the 
part of the intending healer; but the 
writer is candid enough to add that he 
had no personal faith in the efficacy of the 
charm, and was acquainted with instances 
proving directly to the contrary. 

The earliest of our nionarchs, who 
performed this ceremony, is said to 
have been Edward the Confessor (1042- 
66). In the Privy Purse Expenses 
of Henry VII., under 1491, we find: 
"For healing of a seke body this day, 
6s. 8d." ; and numerous entries of a simi- 
lar kind occur in those of Henry VIII. In 
the "Gentleman's Magazine" for 1751, 
we read: "The solemn words, 'I touch, 
but God healeth,' were those our former 
kings always pronounced, when they 
touched for the evil; but this was never 
done but in the presence of a bishop or 
priest, who introduced the patient to the 
royal presence for that salutary intention. 
Then also a form of prayer for the divine 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



355 



blessing was used, and the king hung a 
small piece of silver about the person's 
neck, which he was required to wear dur- 
ing his life." The piece in question was 
known as a touch-piece, and usually had 
a ship on one side, and the Arch- 
angel Michael and the dragon on 
the other. It was more frequently 
in gold, but in either case was 
known, it seems, as the Angel. The cere- 
monies and service used on this occasion 
were repeatedly printed in broadside or 
book form. Part of it runs: "As often 
as the King putteth the Angel about their 
necks, repeat these words : ' That Light 
was the true Light which lighteth every 
man into the world.' After this the 
Lord's Prayer is said, and another prayer 
on the behalf of the diseased, that they, 
receiving health, may ^ive thanks to God, 
&c." Borde, in his " Breviary of 
Health " (1547), among the remedies of 
the king's evil has the following: "For 
this matter, let every man make frendes 
to the Kynges Majestie, for it doth per- 
teyne to a kynge to heipe this infirmitie 
by the grace of God, the which is geven 
to a king anoynted. But for as much as 
some men doth judge divers times a 
fystle or a French pooke to be the king's 
evyll, in such matters it behoveth not a 
kynge to medle withall." We now, with- 
out the smallest danger of incurring the 
suspicion of disloyalty, can safely pro- 
nounce that the royal touch for the king's 
evil is to be referred to the head of physi- 
cal charms, evincing that no order of men 
escaped the ancient contagion of supersti- 
tion. It appears that King Henry the 
Eighth was accustomed to make a gratuity 
of 7s. 6d. to all persons whom he touched, 
and this circumstance, which is borne out 
by entries in his " Privy Purse Expenses," 
for 1529-32, may induce a suspicion that 
patients occasionally shammed, in order 
to get what, to a poor person, was at that 
time by no means a contemptible sum of 
money. Dr. Cox in Notes and Queries 
observes : " James I. was not supposed to 
possess this royal virtue when king of Scot- 
land ; but the power is said to have come 
to him immediately after his accession to 
the English throne." A proclamation of 
March 25, 1616, forbad patients to ap- 
proach the king during the summer. 

Dr. Nicholson is mistaken in thinking 
that the exercise of this superstition was in 
abeyance for any time prior to James I., 
as Elizabeth repeatedly went through the 
ceremony. In common no doubt with other 
searchers, in old parish registers, I have 
frequently come across instances of certifi- 
cates granted by their parish priest to 
those seeking to be royally healed. The 
latest instance that I have noted in this 
county is in the Measham registers, under 



March, 1687. A folio prayer book of 1706, 
now before me, has the ofl&ce "At the heal- 
ing " on a leaf between the Form of 
Prayer for the Accession and the Articles. 
With respect to this may I ask another 
question r What is the earliest and latest 
edition of the Prayer Book containing this 
office, and is the form used by Queen Anne, 
the same as that of other post-reformation 
monarchs ? Bulwer observes: "This 
miraculous imposition of the hand in cur- 
ing the disease called the struma, which, 
from the constant effect of that sovereigne 
salve, is called the king's evil, his sacred 
majestie that now is hath practiced with 
as good success as any of his royal progeni- 
tours."_ Chirologia, 1644, p. 149. But 
a case is reported as having occurred at 
Deptford in Kent in 1649, where a girl 
was cured of blindness by a handkerchief, 
which had been dipped in the king's blood ! 
A Miracle of Miracles, 1649. In one of 
the papers inserted from MSS. in Peck's 
"Desiderata Ouriosa," 1779, is another 
similar story : "A young gentlewoman of 
about sixteen years of age, Elizabeth Ste- 
vens, of Winchester, came (7 October, 
1648) into the presence-chamber to be 
touched for the evill, which she was sup- 
posed to have ; and therewith one of her 
eyes (that namely on the left side) was so 
much indisposed, that by her owne and her 
mother's testimony (who was then also 
present), she had not scene with that eye 
of above a month before. After prayers, 
read by Dr. Sanderson, the maide kneeled 
downe among others, likewise to be 
touched. And his majestie touched her, 
and put a ribbon, with a piece of money 
at it, in usuall manner, about her neck. 
Which done, his majestie turned to the 
lords (viz. the duke of Richmond, the earl 
of Southampton, and the earl of Lindsey) 
to discourse with them. And the said 
young gentlewoman of her own accord said 
openly : ' Now, God be praised ! I can see 
of this sore eye.' And afterwards de- 
clared she did see more and more by it, 
& could, by degrees, endure the light of 
the candle. All which his majestie, in 
the presence of the said lords & many 
others, examined himself, & found it to 
be true. And it hath since been discovered 
that, some months agone, the said young 
gentlewoman professed that, as soon as 
she was come of age sufiicient, she would 
convey over to the king's use all her land ; 
which to the valew of about £130 per an- 
num, her father deceased had left her sole 
heyre unto." Sixty or seventy years ago 
Ashburnham Church, Sussex, was a resort 
of scrofulous persons, who believed that 
by touching a shirt and pair of drawers, 
which were there deposited, and which had 
fallen from the possession of Charles I. to 
that of one of his attendants, John Ash- 



356 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



burnham, they might be cured of their 
disease. Camden's Bemains, ed. 1870, p. 
5, Note. Dr. Johnson, when he was about 
two and a half years old, was taken up to 
London by his mother to be touched by 
Queen Anne, who gave him a touch-piece, 
and whose appearance on this occasion 
Boswell tells us that his friend faintly re- 
called. Barrington tells us of an old man 
who was witness in a cause, and averred 
that when Queen Anne was at Oxford, she 
touched him whilst a child for the evil. 
Barrington, when he had finished his evi- 
dence, " asked him whether he was really 
cured ? upon which he answered with a sig- 
nificant smile, that he believed himself 
never to have had a complaint that de- 
served to be considered as the evil, but 
that his parents were poor, and had no 
objection to the bit of gold." This ac- 
counts well for the great resort of patients 
and supposed miraculous cures on this 
occasion. Observations on the Statutes, 
p. 107. It seems rather doubtful whether 
the perforation in these pieces of touch- 
money which almost invariably occurs, was 
for the purpose of suspension or for good 
luck, or both. For a proclamation con- 
cerning the cure of the king's evil, see 
Rushworth's " Collections," part ii., vol. 
i., p. 49. Dr. Pegge, in his " Curialia 
Miscellanea," 1818, has devoted a section 
to this subject. The obsolete usage is de- 
scribed in "Macbeth," iv., 3: 

" strangely visited people. 

All swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the 

eye. 
The mere despair of surgery, he cures ; 
Hanging a golden stamp about their 

necks. 
Put on with holy prayers — " 

Osborne, advising his son, says: " Be not 
therefore hasty to register all you under- 
stand not in the black Calendar of Hell, as 
some have done the weapon salve, passing 
by the cure of the king's evill altogether, 
as improbable to sense. Neither rashly 
condemn all you meet with that condemns 
the common received opinion, lest you re- 
main a fool upon record." Works, ed. 
1682-92. 

King's of Colog'ne, Three. — 
See Kingham and Virgins of Cologne. 
In the 16th c. the Festival of the 
Three Kings was kept with great 
solemnity and merriment throughout 
Northern Germany. Gostwick and Har- 
rison, Ovtlines of German Literature, 
1873, p. 111. 

Kissing: Usagres — From the fol- 
lowing passage in the " Towneley Mys- 
teries " it may be perhaps deduced that it 
was formerly usual for the commoner sort 
of people, before a carouse, to kiss each 
other, as a mark of good fellowship : 



" Secundus Pastor. Yit a botelle here is. 
Tercius Pastor. That is well spoken; 

By my thryft we must kys — 
Secundus Pastor. That had I forgotten." 
By a note in Reed's Shakespear we learn 
that in dancing, " a kiss was anciently the 
establish'd fee of a lady's partner." So in 
Level's " Dialogue between Custom and 
Veritie," 1581: 

" But some reply, what foole would 
daunce, 
If that when daunce is doone, 
He may not have at ladyes lips 
That which in daunce he woon." 

This custom is still prevalent among the 
country people in many, perhaps all, parts 
of the kingdom. Shakespear makes his 
dancers on the sea shore take hands, curt- 
sey and kiss. 

Kiss, Nuptial, in the Church. 
— This nuptial kiss in the church, which 
was originally an act of religious symbol- 
ism, is enjoined both by the York Missal 
and the Sarum Manual. " Accipiat Spon- 
sus pacem (the Pax) a Sacerdote, et 
ferat Sponsse, osculans earn, et neminem 
alium, nee ipse nee ipsa." 1553, Rubrick, 
fol. 69. "Surgant ambo, Sponsus et spon- 
sa, et accipiat sponsus pacem a Sacerdote, 
et ferat Sponsae, osculans earn, et nemi- 
nem alium, nee ipse nee ipsa." This litur- 
gical precept appears to have develojied or 
degenerated into the priest himself kissing 
the bride and into the more modern prac- 
tice of the husband, and even relatives, 
saluting her at the conclusion of the cere- 
mony. The subsequent particulars are 
from Randolph's " Letters," where he is 
speaking of the marriage of Mary Queen 
of Scots to Lord Darnley : " She had on 
her back the great mourning gown of 
black, with the great wide mourning hood, 
&c. The rings, which were three, the 
middle a rich diamond, were put on her 
finger. They kneel together, and many 
prayers were said over them ; she tarrieth 
out the mass, and he taketh a kiss, and 
leaveth her there, and went to her cham- 
ber, whither, within a space, she followeth 
and being required, (according to the sol- 
emnity) to oast off her cares, and leave 
aside these sorrowful garments, and give 
herself to a more pleasant life, after some 
pretty refusal (more, I believe, for manner 
sake than grief of heart), she suffereth 
them that stood by, every man that could 
approach, to take out a pin, and so, being 
committed to her ladies, changed her gar- 
ments, but went not to bed : to signifie to 
the world that it was not lust that moved 
them to marry, but only the necessity of 
her country, not, if God will, to leave it 
without an heir." It is expressly men- 
tioned in the following line from Mar- 
ston's "Insatiate Countess": 



AND FUfULAK CU^IUMii. 



357 



" The kisse thou gav'st me in the church 
here take." 

Vaughan, in his " Golden Groue," 
1600, says: "Among the Romans the 
future couple sent certain pledges one 
to another, which most commonly they 
themselves afterwards being present would 
confirme with a religious kisse." Au- 
brey, writing about 1670, relates that 
when he was a boy, it was usual for the 
bride and bridegroom to kiss over the 
cakes at the table. He adds that the cakes 
were laid at the end of the dinner, one 
on another, like the shew-bread in the 
old Bible-prints. The bridegroom was ex- 

fected to wait at table on this occasion, 
u "The Collier's Wedding," the bride is 
introduced as being waylaid, after the 
ceremony, at the church stile, for this pur- 
pose. It was once customary among per- 
sons of middling rank, as well as 
the vulgar, in most parts of Eng- 
land for the young men present at 
the marriage ceremony to salute the 
bride, one by one, the moment it 
was concluded. This, after officiating in 
the ceremony himself, Mr. Brand saw fre- 
quently done. But it is now usual only 
among the common people. It seems from 
the account left us by Guthrie, that in the 
18th century the nuptial kiss described by 
Theocritus in his fifth idyll as usual among 
his countrymen, that is to say, the form, 
where the man takes the woman by the 
ears to kiss her, was still preserved among 
the Russians. 

Kitchen Fires. — In Yorkshire there 
is, or was, a house where a niece of 
Charles Richardson, the lexicographer, 
visited, and where they would think it a 
bad omen if the kitchen fire went out ; 
and I understand from this lady that it 
had been kept up incessantly where she 
lived for some years. The custom used 
to be observed in many other districts. 

Kitchen Furniture. — Gough, in 
his edition of Camden, 1789, says: "At 
Therfield, as at Braughing, was till lately 
a set of kitchen furniture lent to the poor 
at weddings." 

Kitch-Witch, The — In Norfolk, 
and perhaps elsewhere, a female attired 
in some grotesque and frightful manner 
is called a kitch-witch, of which the ety- 
mology is not clear. Formerly the streets 
of Yarmouth were occasionally infested 
by troops of these creatures^ wjho made a 
sort of house to house visitation, and 
levied toll on some ground or other. They 
wore men's shirts over their own dresses, 
and had their faces smeared with blood. 
It is supposed, probably enough, that 
Kittywitch Row owes its appellation to 
this happily obsolete usage. 

Kites. — These may be the same as the 



paper windmills seen in the hands of the 
younger sort of children in Mr. Ives's 
Missal. 

Kit-Kat. — A boy's game. See Halli- 
well in V. and under Stand Holes. 

Kit-Kat-Cannio.— This is described 
by Moor : " A sedentary game, played by 
two with slate pencil or pencil and paper 
like kit-cat, easier learned than described. 
It is won by the party who can first get 
three marks (o's or x's) in a line; the 
marks being made alternately by the play- 
ers o or X in one of the nine spots equidis- 
tant in three rows, when complete. He 
who begins has the advantage, as he can 
contrive to get his mark in the middle." 

Knack. — At Werington in Devon- 
shire the clergyman of the parish informed 
Mr. Brand, about 1795, that when a far- 
mer finishes his reaping, a small quantity 
of the ears of the last corn are twisted or 
tied together into a curious kind of figure, 
which is brought home with great accla- 
mations, hung up over the table, and kept 
till the next year. The owner would think 
it extremely unlucky to part with this, 
which is called " a knack.'' The reapers 
whoop and hollow " A Knack ! a knack ! 
well cut ! well bound ! well shocked !" and, 
in some places, in a sort of mockery, it 
is added, " Well scattered on the ground." 
A countryman gave him a somewhat dif- 
ferent account as follows: "When they 
have cut the corn^ the reapers assemble to 
gether : a knack is made, which one placed 
in the middle of the company holds up, 
crying thrice ' a Knack,' which all the 
rest repeat : the person in the middle says 

' Well cut ! well bound ! 

Well shock'd ! well saved from the 
ground.' 

he afterwards cries ' Whoop ' and his 
companions hollow as loud as they can. 
He applied for one of them. No farmer 
would part with that which hung over his 
table ; out one was made on purpose for 
him." I should suppose that Moresin al- 
ludes to something like this when he says : 
" Et spiceas papatus (habet) coronas, quas 
videre est in domibus, &c.' Papatus, p. 
163, V. Spicse. See the last ed. of Nares' 
Gloss, art. Knack, and Harvest Doll, 
supra. 

Knigrht of the Common Hall. 
— Skelton uses the term in relation to a 
person in a certain predicament. He is 
speaking of "la belle Isolde," the wife 
of King Mark : 

" Some say she was lyght, 

And made her husband knyghte 

Of the common hal 

What cuckoldes men cal — " 
In " Tarltons Newes out of Purgatory," 
1590, we have "The Tale of Three Cuck- 
olds, of their impresses and mottoes." 



358 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Knivesi &c. — It is unlucky, says 
Grose, to lay one's knife and fork cross- 
wise. Crosses and misfortunes are likely 
to follow. Melton observes, " that it is 
naught for any man to give a pair of 
knives to his sweetheart, for feare it cuts 
away all love that is betweene them." 
Astrologaster, 1620, p. 45. Thus Gay in 
his second Pastoral : 

" But woe is me ! such presents luckless 
prove. 

For knives, they tell me, always sever 
love." 

It is, says Grose, unlucky to present a 
knife, scissors, razor, or any sharp or cut- 
ting instrument to one's mistress or friend, 
as they are apt to cut love and friendship. 
To avoid the ill-effects of this, a pin, a 
farthing, or some trifling recompense must 
be taken. To find a knife or a razor de- 
notes ill luck and disappointment to the 
party." Compare, however, Bride-Knives. 
"Knockers. — Subterranean spirits, 
supposed in Wales in former times to have 
by their sounds denoted the whereabouts 
of minerals. Miss Costello's North 
Wales, 1845, pp. 124-6. Grose quotes 
Lewis, in his correspondence with Bax- 
ter, describing them as little statured, and 
about half a yard long ; and adding that 
at this very instant there are miners on 
a discovery of a vein of metal on his own 
lands, and that two of them are ready to 
make oath they have heard these knockers 
in the day time. The Germans believed 
in two species of fairies of the mines, one 
fierce and malevolent^ the other a gentle 
race, appearing like little old men dressed 
like miners, and not much above two feet 
high. 

Knocking' Down at Lincoln's 
inn. — It was formerly usual, when the 
dinner in term-time had been placed on 
the tables, for the butler to strike thrice 
with a wooden mallet on the sideboard, 
probably by way of commanding silence, 
in order that the chaplain might say 
grace. The same observance was followed 
preparatory to the grace after dinner. 
This was known as Knocking Down. 
Penny Magazine for February, 1836. 

Kyneburg:, St., of Glouces- 
ter. — See Mr. Hart's privately printed 
Lectionarium, 1869, from an unique MS. 
St. Kyneburg's Day was March 6. 

Lady in the Straw.— An expres- 
sion, which carries us back to very primi- 
tive times, when some kind of rude ar- 
rangement preceded the institution of the 
palliasse both in England and abroad. 
From the nursery rhyme of ' ' See-Saw, 
Margery Daw," it is inferrible that the 
mattress had then grown into use, and 
that the archaic straw lair was accounted 
derogatory. In old Bedlam the inmates 



lay on straw in chains. Comp. Childbirth 
and Lying-in. ,, ,j_ Tr-j 

Lady of the Lamb.— "At Kid- 
lington, or Kidington, in Oxfoi-dshire, 
observes Blount, " the custom is that, on 
Monday after Whitsun week, there is a 
fat live lamb provided ; and the maids of 
the town, having their thumbs tied be- 
hind them, run after it, and she that 
with her mouth takes and holds the lamb, 
is declared Lady of the Lamb, which being 
dressed, with the skin haiiging on, is 
carried on a long pole before the lady 
and her companions to the green, attended 
with music, and a Morisco dance of men, 
and another of women, where the rest of 
the day is spent in dancing, mirth, and 
merry glee. The next day the lamb is 

Eart baked, boiled, and roast, for the 
ady's Feast, where she sits majestically 
at the upper end of the table, and her 
companions with her, with music and 
other attendants, which end the solem- 
nity." Hazlitt's edit, of Blount 1874, 
p. 181. Hearne, however, thought that 
the true place was Kirtleton, but was the 
latter a focal pronounciation of Kidling- 
ton? Hearne's Diary, under 1723. 

Lady of the Wake. — See Wakes. 

Lady's Thistle. — The purple- 
flowered Lady's Thistle, the leaves of 
which are beautifully diversified with 
numerous white spots, like drops of milk, 
is vulgarly thought to have been origin- 
ally marked by the falling of some drops 
of the Virgin Mary's milk on it, whence, 
no doubt, its name Lady's, i.e.. Our Lady's 
Thistle. An ingenious little invention of 
the dark ages, and which, no doubt, ha,s 
been of service to the cause of supersti- 
tion. 

Lake-Wake. — See Lych Wake. 

Lambs, Looking: at. — The late 
Mr. Robert Roberts of Boston, Lincoln- 
shire, writes : "In these parts it is com- 
monly believed that the iirst lamb you see 
ought to have its head turned towards you> 
I believe the superstition is pretty gen- 
eral. We also say that you ought to have 
money in your pocket on these occasionSj. 
silver at least, but gold is better still, and 
that it is very unlucky to be without it." 

Lamb's Wool. — A Nottinghamshire 
correspondent of the "Gentleman's Maga- 
zine " for 1784, states, "that when he 
was a boy at school the practice on Christ- 
mas Eve was to roast apples on a string 
till they dropt into a large bowl of spiced 
ale, which is the whole composition of 
Lamb's Wool." It is probable that from 
the softness of this popular beverage it 
has gotten the above name. See Shake- 
spear's " Midsummer Night's Dream." 

" Sometimes lurk I in a gossip'a 

bowl. 

In very likeness of a roasted crab ; 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



359 



And when she drinks, against her lips 

I bob, 
And on her wither'd dew-lap pour the 

ale." 

The writer in the " Gentleman's Maga- 
zine" for May, 1784, says, he has " often 
met with lambs' wool in Ireland, where it 
is a constant ingredient at a merry-mak- 
ing on Holy Eve, or the evening before All 
Saints' Day ; and it is made there by 
bruising roasted apples and mixing them 
with ale, or sometimes with milk. Form- 
erly, when the superior ranks were not too 
refined for these periodical meetings of 
jollity, white wine was frequently substi- 
tuted for ale. To lambs' wool, apples and 
nuts are added as a necessary part of the 
entertainment, and the young folks amuse 
themselves with burning nuts in pairs on 
the bar of the grate, or among the warm 
embers, to which they gave their name 
and that of their lovers, or those of their 
friends who are supposed to have like at- 
tachments, and from the manner of their 
burning and direction of the flame, draw 
such inferences respecting the constancy 
or strength of their passions as usually 
promote mirth and good humour." For 
Vallancey's Etymology of lambs' wool, 
see " Collectanea," vol. iii., p. 444. 

Lammas Lands. — Property an- 
ciently appropriated to the celebration of 
Lammas. In the West London Advertiser 
for April 28, 1877, the annexed report ap- 
peared of a vestry meeting at Fuiham on 
the 24th : — ' ' The business was to take 
into consideration a recommendation from 
the Lammas Kights' Committee. Mr. 
Mugford moved : ' That the Lammas 
Rights' Committee be requested to hold a 
meeting and be empowered to call and re- 
ceive evidence respecting existing Lam- 
mas Rights of this parish, in order, if 
necessary, to assert the rights of parish- 
ioners.' He considered the proper time 
had arrived when the vestry should be in 
possession of a map setting forth the 
limits of Lammas Rights. He was very 
much astonished to find that they had not 
a single trace of any document showing 
the Lammas Rights. This would streng- 
then the hands of their legal advisers. 
If they found that the Lammas Rights 
were in the hands of other people, they 
could call on them to prove their title. 
Mr. Lammin said there were eight or ten 
old inhabitants who were able to give evi- 
dence on this question. Ho had no doubt 
the rights of copyholders existed over the 
parish, but fences had been allowed 
to grow up and the rights had apparently 
lapsed. At present they could only 
proceed with SiUch parts as those 
near the river, and, perhaps, in the 
Fulham Fields. Mr. Schofield said there 



had been a road down to the river 
for centuries. There were cottages 
down there to which there was a 
right of way, and they were placed under 
sanitary regulations. The Lammas Rights 
in respect to those cottages, had slipped 
away. It was high time they had a fresh 
' school ' to look after the rights of the 
parish. Mr. Rawkins seconded the motion. 
To talk of Lammas Rights near the 
Thames was nonsense. That part of their 
rights was hardly worth fighting for. The 
Fulham market gardens were laid out on 
Lammas lands. They belonged to Fulham 
charities, and they had been allowed to 
lapse." A recent Act of Parliament has 
extinguished the Lammas rights at Peter- 
sham in Surrey in favour of the Earl of 
Dysart, who surrendered in exchange a 
valuable riparian area which his lordship 
might otherwise have let to the builder. 

Lampas Ardens. — At a very re- 
mote period an impost was levied, if 
voluntary benevolences were not forth- 
coming for the supply of artificial light 
outside certain religious buildings in con- 
tinental cities, as a means of security for 
passengers and as a clue to the locality. 
These lights were usually dedicated to a 
saint. They were in Italy known as cesen- 
dele, a term borrowed from the fire-flies, 
which early travellers describe as swarm- 
ing after sunset in some parts of Lom- 
bardy. The Greeks took tneir word for 
a glow-worm Aa/xTroi'/ats from that for a 
torch. In England these lights were more 
commonly employed inside churches and 
other ecclesiastical establishments, and 
were frequently supported by funds se- 
cured on land or other property, whence 
came the term candle-meadow . See White 
Kennett's Parochial Antiquities, 1695, ed. 
1818, Glossary, v. Luminare. 

Lang^emark Day.— In the "Sta- 
tistical Account of Scotland," vol. xv., p. 
45, Parish of Lanark, we read of "the 
riding of the marches, which is done annu- 
ally upon the day after Whitsunday Fair 
by the magistrates and burgesses, called 
here the Landsniark or Langemark Day, 
from the Saxon langemark. It is evi- 
dently of Saxon origin, and probably es- 
tablished here in the reign of, or some- 
time posterior to Malcolm I." 

Langrholm, Co. Dumfries 

There is still an annual custom of "Rid- 
ing the Marshes " here on July 27. In 
1901 it is said that a drum and fife band 
paraded the to\¥n at 5.30 a.m., and that 
at a later hour a hound race or trail took 
place over a six-mile course. There was 
subsequently a procession through the 
place of hundreds of boys and girls bear- 
ing heather besoms. A large thistle, a 
barley bannock, and a salt herring were 
carried aloft. Antiguary, xxxvii., 281. 



360 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Lanterloo. — Seo Chatto's Flaying 
■Cards, 1848, p. 166. 

Lanthorn Fly. — Merian lias given 
us an account of the famous Indian lan- 
-thorn fly, published among her Insects, at 
Surinam. " It has a hood or bladder on 
its head, which gives a light like a lan- 
-thorn in the night, but by daylight is clear 
and transparent, curiously adorned with 
istripes of red or green colour. Writing 
of tolerable large character may be read 
by the light of it at night. It is said that 
the creature can either dilate or contract 
the hood or bladder over its head at plea- 
sure, and that when taken it hides all 
its light, which only when at liberty it 
afiords plentifully." 

'Largesse. — To the festivities of har- 
vest home must be referred the popular 
custom among the hop-pickers in Kent, 
described by Smart, and of which he gives 
an engraved representation in the title- 
page to his " Poems." He is describing 
their competitions : 

" Who first may fill 
The bellying bin, and cleanest cull the 

hops. 
Nor ought retards, unless invited out 
By Sol's declining, and the evening's 

calm, 
Leander leads Lsetitia to the scene 
Of shade and fragrance — Then th' exult- 
ing band 
Of pickers, male and female, seize the 

fair 
Reluctant, and with boisterous force 

and brute, 
By cries unmov'd, they bury her in the 

bin. 
Nor does the youth escape ■ — him too 

they seize, 
And in such posture place as best may 

serve 
To hide his charmer's blushes. Then 

with shouts 
They rend the echoing air, and from 

them both 
(So custom has ordain'd) a Largess 

claim." 

•"Hop-Garden," lib. 2, 1. 177 ("Poems," 
1752). In Northamptonshire, according 
to the testimony of Miss Baker, there is 
after the harvest what is termed a lar- 
gesse, a phrase in general use, but in a 
different and less special sense. It is in 
fact nothing more than a voluntary con- 
tribution made by the inhabitants of a 
village towards the harvest supper, which 
was usually held in a barn, and kept up 
tolerably late with singing, drinking, and 
other jollity. The term largesse, among 
the gamins at Lowestoft, in Suffolk, was 
corrupted into largie. They would run 
after you, crying "Largie, largie." 



Lattice, Green or Red. — As 

Douce long ago pointed out, ale-house lat- 
tices were at times occasionally blue, or 
perhaps a bluish green, and by no means 
invariably red. The literary allusions are, 
however, almost invariably to the latter. 
George Steevens traced to this source the 
later checque.rs. In Shakespear's "Henry 
IV.," part ii., Falstaff's page speaking of 
Bardohjh, says, " He called me even now, 
my lord, through a red lattice, and I could 
see no part of his face from the window." 
In Marston's " Antonio and Mellida," we 
read : " as well knowen by my wit, as an 
ale-house by a red lattice." In the last 
will and Testament of Lawrence Lucifer, 
the old Batchiler of Limbo, at the end of 
the "Blacke Booke," 1604, is the follow- 
ing passage : " Watched sometimes ten 
houres together in an ale-house, ever and 
anon peeping forth, and sampling thy 
nose with the red lattice." Again, in 
" The Miseries of inforc'd Marriage," 
1607: 
— " 'tis treason to the red lattice, enemy 
to the sign-post." 

So in Marmion's " Fine Companion," 
" A Waterman's Widow at the sign of the 
Red Lattice in Southwark." But in Ar- 
den of Faversham, 1592, the colour is not 
defined : 
• — "his sign pulled down, and his lat- 
tice born away." 

This designation of an ale-house is not al- 
together lost, though the original meaning 
of the word is, the sign being converted 
into a green lettuce ; of which an instance 
occurs in Brownlow-street, Holborn. Apart 
from its use in this connection a lattice 
in front of windows was a common mode 
of securing privacy in dwellings ; and at 
the coronation of Elizabeth of York in 
1487, Henry VII. is said to have witnessed 
the ceremony behind a lattice. 

Laugh and Lay Down. — A juve- 
nile game at cards. The expression was 
common in 1605^ and seems to have gained 
an under-meaning. See Halliwell in v., 
Hazlitt's Bibl. Coll., i., 415, and his ed. of 
Herrick, 1890, i., 122. 

Laundress. — The term employed at 
the Inns of Court from very early times 
for the woman who attends to the lawyers' 
chambers. More than one of our profes- 
sional men, who eventually acquired cele- 
brity, married his laundress. It has been 
conjectured that the word meretrix found 
in many ancient documents in the sense of 
a camp-follower ought to be interpreted 
in this way, and not in a less favourable 
one. See Hazlitt's ed. of Blount's Tenures, 
1874, pp. 119, 433. The same female 
personage is styled by Braithwaite a laun- 
derer, as we perceive from a passage in his 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



361 

over the candle back and forth, with these 
words : 

' The taylor of Bisiter he has but one 
eye, 

He cannot cut a pair of green Galligas- 
kins, if he were to die.' " 

" Remains of Gentilism and Judaism," 
Polk-Lore Soc. ed. p. 44-5. This sport in 
other parts is called dancing the candle- 
rush. 

Leaping the Well on St. 
Mark's Day.— Brockett, in his " Glos- 
sary of North-Country Words," 1825, de- 
scribes this as " going through a deep and 
noisome pool on Alnwick Moor, called the 
Freeman's Well — a sine qua nou to the 
freedom of the borough." Brockett has 
the following account of the ceremony ; 
" On St. Mark's Day, the aspirants pro- 
ceed in great state, and in equal spirits, 
from the town to the moor, where they 
draw up in a body, at some distance from 
the water, and, on a signal being given, 
they scramble through the mud with great 
labour and difficulty. They may be said 
to come out in a condition not much better 
than the heroes of the ' Dunciad ' after 
diving in Fleet Ditch. There is a current 
tradition, that this strange and ridiculous 
custom — rendered more ludicrous by being 
performed in white clothing — was imposed 
by that capricious tyrant. King John, 
who, it is said, was bogged in this very 
pool. I witnessed the ceremony a few 
years ago, and I can assure my friend, Mr. 
Surtees, that there is no foundation for 
his supposition, that they contrive to keep 
the pond dry." 

Leechdom. — A considerable degree 
of attention has been recently paid to the 
subject of ancient leechdom, perhaps not 
much more, relatively perhaps not at all 
more, empirical than that of our own time. 
Supernatural influence and agencies en- 
tered, however, more largely into it. A 
very curious remedy for disease in general 
was the cincture of a patient with a fillet 
or girdle, which had been previously se- 
cured round the shrine or reliquary of a 
saint, supplemented by the application of 
a bent sdver penny to the affected part ; 
and this process could be accomplished 
either on the spot or at a distance, when 
the sufferer could not travel, and lived in 
another district. The penny afterwards 
lapsed to the Church. In one of the Lays 
of Marie de France there is a singular ac- 
count of a weasel restoring one of its dead 
fellows to life by fetching a flower, and 
placing it in the mouth of the defunct 
creature. The same remedy was subse- 
quently applied to one of the heroines of 
the tale with equal success. Ellis's Early 
English Metrical Romances, 1848, p. 73. 
So late as 1903, a mother at Heywood in 
Lancashire placed a necklace of beads 



Whimzies, 1631, quoted under Funeral 
Feasts. 

Lavender. — From the subsequent 
passage in Greene's " Quip," 1592, it 
should seem that lavender was somehow 
or other vulgarly considered as emblemati- 
cal of cuckoldom : " There was loyal laven- 
.der, but that was full of cuckow-spittes, 
to show that women's light thoughts make 
their husbands heavy heads." 

Lawrence Lazy, Sir, or Lazy 
Lawrence. — A metonym for a slug- 
gard. There is a chapman's storj'-book, 
entitled ' ' The Infamous History of Sir 
Lawrence Lazy," of which the earliest im- 
pressions have disappeared. Mr. Durrant 
■Cooper, in his "Sussex Vocabulary," 1853, 
seems to think that this Lawrence is rather 
"A kind of imaginary saint or fairy, 
whose influence produces indolence," and 
■quotes the woU-known saying, " I've got 
a touch of old Lawrence to-day." But it 
■seems preferable to derive the expression 
from some real or fabulous human per- 
sonage so named, proverbial for such 
<iualities, and not seek any divine or super- 
natural solution of the mystery. In 1594, 
a ballad called "Lusty Lawrence" was 
licensed for the press by the Stationers' 
■Company ; it reads like a parody or imita- 
tion of " Lazy Lawrence " (unless the con- 
verse was the case), but what its precise 
•character was, there are no means of as- 
certaining, to my knowledge. See Flet- 
•cher's play of the Captain, iv., 3. 

Lawrence, St — Deacon and Mar- 
tyr, whose day is August 10, is associated 
with the uncomfortable tradition of the 
gridiron, on which he is said to have been 
roasted alive. He was adopted by one or 
"two places on the continent as their patron 
saint, and appears on the coins of Wis- 
mar, on the Baltic, and elsewhere, holding 
the instrument of martyrdom before him. 
It is an evident error to identify the name 
with the Lazy and Lusty Lawrence of 
popular literature and belief. Near Bod- 
min in Cornwall is the small village of St. 
Lawrence, where an annual fair is held, 
and a mayor elected for the occasion. 
_ Leabharf ein. — A form of assevera- 
tion by the Bible, or rather by the great 
■Sahhath, formerly usual in the Western 
Isles of Scotland. Stat. Ace, 1792, 
Applecross, co. Ross, vol. iii., 380. 
Supposed to correspond to the Danish 
Inhoire, customary at that period in the 
Isle of Lewis. Comp. Bible. 

Leap-Candle.—" The young girls 
in and about Oxford (notes Aubrey) have 
a sport called Leap-candle, for which they 
set a candle in the middle of the room in 
a candlestick, and then draw up their 
•coats in the form of breeches, and dance 



362 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



strung together with white thread on the 
neck of her child, who suffered from a fat 
or swollen neck. 

Lee Fair. — The anonymous author of 
the " Dialect of Leeds," 1862, notices the 
great fair which was anciently held at 
Lee-fair, a village in the parish of Wood- 
kirk, (a cell of Black canons to Nostal 
Priory), and which terminated on St. Bar- 
tholomew's Day. This fair was not only 
for purposes of buying and selling, barter 
and exchange, but scholastic exercises and 
disputations were held there. It is sup- 
posed that it was a chartered institution 
allowed to Nostal as a privilege and source 
of revenue. 

Lee Penny or Lee Stone. — The 
Lee-penny, or Lee-stone, is a curious piece 
of antiquity belonging to the family of 
Lee in Scotland, on which Scott's tale of 
"The Talisman " is founded. But the idea 
is probably, or rather almost certainly, 
much older, even than the Scotish tradi- 
tion. It is a cornelian of a triangular 
shape, and its size about half an inch on 
each side. It is set in a groat of Edward 
III. It has been, by tradition, in the 
Lee family since the year 1320, that is, a 
little after the death of King Robert 
Bruce, who having ordered his heart to 
be carried to the Holy Land, there to be 
buried, one of the noble family of Douglas 
was sent with it, and it is said got the 
crowned heart in his arms from that cir- 
cumstance ; but the person who carried the 
heart was Simon Locard of Lee, who just 
about this time borrowed a large sum of 
money from Sir William de Lindsay, a 
prior of Ayr, for which he granted a bond 
of annuity of ten pounds of silver, during 
the life of the said Sir William 
de Lindsay, out of his lands of Lee 
and Cartland. The original bond, 
dated 1323, and witnessed by the 
principal nobility of the country, is 
still remaining among the family papers. 
As this was a great sum in those 
days, it is thought it was borrowed 
for that expedition ; and from his 
being the person who carried the royal 
heart, he changed his name to Lockheart, 
as it is sometimes spelt, or Lockhart, and 
got a heart within a lock for part of his 
arms, with the motto Corda serata pando. 
This Simon Lockhart having taken pris- 
oner a Saracen prince or chief, his wife 
came to ransom him, and on counting out 
the money or jewels, this stone fell out of 
her purse, which she hastily snatched up ; 
which Simon Lockhart observing, insisted 
to have it, else he would not give up his 
prisoner. Upon this the lady gave it him, 
and told him its many virtues, viz., that 
it cured all diseases in cattle, and the bite 
of a mad dog both in man and beast. It 



is used by dipping the stone in water, 
which is given to the diseased cattle to 
drink; and the person who has been bit, 
and the wound or part infected, is washed 
with the water. There are no words used 
in the dipping of the stone, nor any money 
taken by the servants, without incurring, 
the owner's displeasure. Many are th© 
cures said to be performed by it ; and 
people come from all parts of Scotland, 
and even as far up in England as York- 
shire, to get the water in which the stone- 
is dipped, to give their cattle, when ill of 
the murrain especially, and black leg. A 
great many years ago, a complaint was 
made to the ecclesiastical courts, against 
the Laird of Lee, then Sir James Lock- 
hart, for using witchcraft. It is said, 
when the plague was last at Newcastle, 
the inhabtiants sent for the Lee-penny, 
and gave a bond for a large sum in trust 
for the loan ; and that they thought it did 
so much good, that they offered to pay the- 
money, and keep the Lee-penny; but the 
gentleman would not part with it. A 
copy of this bond is very well attested to- 
have been among the family papers, but 
supposed to have been spoiled along with, 
many more valuable ones, about fifty years- 
ago, by rain getting into the charter-room 
during a long minority, and no family 
residing at Lee. "The most remarkable- 
cure performed upon any person, was that 
of Lady Baird, of Sauchton Hall, near 
Edinburgh ; who having been bit by a mad 
dog, was come the length of hydrophobia ; 
upon which, having sent to beg the Lee- 
penny might be sent to her house, she used 
it for some weeks, drinking and bathing, 
in the water it was dipped in, and was 
quite recovered. This happened about 
eighty years ago ; but it is very well at- 
tested, having been told by the lady of 
the then Laird of Lee, and who died with- 
in these thirty years. She also told, that 
her husband, Mr. Lockhart, and she- 
were entertained at Sauchton Hall, by 
Sir Robert Baird and his lady, for several 
days, in the most sumptuous manner, on 
account of the lady's recovery, and in- 
gratitude for the loan of the Lee-penny 
so long, as it was never allowed to be car- 
ried from the house of Lee. It was tried 
by a lapidary, and found to be a stone; 
but of what kind he could not tell." 

It seems to be rather a curious coinci- 
dence that much about the same time Sir 
Richard-at-Lee borrowed money of St. 
Mary's Abbey at York, and mortgaged his- 
lands to it, as we see in the Robin Hood- 
epic. Hazlitt's Tales and Legends, 1892, 

Les, Foot, &c. Charms. — ^When 
Coleridge was at Christ's Hospital in the- 
18th century, there were the following, 
metrical charms, he tells us, and he con- 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



363 



eludes that they might have been in use 
there long before his time ; — 

" The devil is tying a knot in my leg I 
Mark, Luke, and John, unloose it, I 

beg: 
Crosses three we make to ease us : 
Two for the thieves, and one for Christ 

Jesus !" 

And the form for a numbed foot was : — 
" Foot, foot is fast asleep ! 
Thumb, thumb, thumb, in spittle we 

steep : 
Crosses three, &c. — " 

The remedy was held to apply to a stitch 
in the side. 

Lenti — So-called from the lengthen- 
ing of the day, varied with Easter, when 
it occurs. What was called clean Lent 
is mentioned in the ' ' Plump ton Corres- 
pondence," under 1502-3, as occurring on 
the 5th of March, or Quadragesima Sun- 
day. Camd. Soc. ed. 173. In Fosbrooke's 
"British Monachism," is the following: 
"At Barking Nunnery the annual store 
of provision consisted, inter alia, of green 
peas for Lent ; green peas against mid- 
summer " ; with a note copi^ from the 
"Order and Government of^a Nobleman's 
House" in the Xlllth volume of the 
" Archajologia," p. 373, that " if one will 
have pease soone in the year following, 
such pease are to be sowenne in the waine 
of the moone, at St. Andre's tide before 
Christmas." In Smith's " Lives of the 
Lords of Berkeley," we read that on the 
anniversary of the founder of St. Augus- 
tine's, Bristol, i.e.. Sir Robert Fitzhard- 
ing, on the 5th of February, "At that 
Monastery there shall be one hundred 
poore men refreshed, in a dole made unto 
them in this forme : every man of them 
hath a chanons loafe of bread, called a 
niyche, and three hearings thearewith. 
There shalbe doaled also amongst them two 
bushells of Pesys." — " And in the anniver- 
sary daye of Dame Eve, (Lady Eve, wife 
of the above Lord, Sir Robert Fitzhard- 
ing), our Foundresse, i.e., 12 Marcii, a 
dole shalbe made in this forme : that daye 
shalbe doled to fifty poore men fifty loafes 
called miches, and to each three hearings, 
and, amongst them all, one bushell of 
pease." Lord Robert Fitzharding died 
Feb. 5th, 1170 [-1] 17 Hen. II., aged about 
75 years. Dame Eve, who herself founded 
and became prioress of the house called 
the Magdalens, by Bristol, died prioress 
thereof March 12th, 1173 [-4]. 

In the Churchwardens' Account of St. 
Mary-at-Hill, in the City of London, a.d. 
1492, is the following article : 

" For dyssplying Roddys, ij'*." 
And again. Ibid. 1501. " For paintynge 
the Cross Staffe for Lent, iiij''." Herrick 



in his " Noble Numbers," 1647, in his 
poem "To keep a True Lent," writes: 

"— 'Tis a fast to dole 

Thy sheaf of wheat. 

And meat. 
Unto the hungry soule. 

"It is to fast from strife. 

From old debate. 

And hate ; 
To circumcise thy life. 

" To show a heart grief-rent 

To starve thy sin. 

Not bin ; 
And that's to keep thy Lent." 

At DijoUj in Burgundy, it is the custom 
upon the first Sunday in Lent to make 
large fires in the streets, whence it is 
called Firebrand Sunday. This practice 
originated in the processions n)rmerly 
made on that day by the peasants with 
lighted torches of straw, to drive away, 
as they called it, the bad air from the 
earth. 

Letiche. — See Whiteness. 

Letter. — Defoe says: "I have seen 
people who, after writing a letter, have 
prognosticated to themselves the ill suc- 
cess of it, if by any accident it happened 
to fall to the ground ; others have seemed 
as impatient, and exclaiming against their 
want of thought, if, thro' haste or forget- 
fulness, they have chanced to hold it be- 
for the fire to dry ; but the mistake of a 
word in it is a sui-e omen, that whatever 
request it carries shall be refused." Mem. 
of Duncan Campbel, 1732, 202. 

Level Coil. — This is the name of a 
game mentioned by our old play-writers, 
and by GifEord is supposed to have been 
something like the modern child's sport 
called catch-corner (or puss-in-the-corner), 
" in which each of the parties strives to 
supplant and win the place of the other. 
In Coles's Dictionary it is derived from the 
Italian levar il culo, which is supported by 
Minsheu, and is no doubt correct. What- 
ever may be thought of this etymology, 
the diversion appears to have been a 
rather riotous one, and the phrase hence 
obtained a figurative sense, which still sur- 
vives in the colloquial phrase coil." In 
the last edition of the " Glossary of Nares" 
(1859), a more particular description of 
level-coil occurs, so that it seemed unneces- 
sary to enter into farther detail here. But 
I must add, that, unless I derive a very 
wrong inference from a perusal of the 
article in Nares, there were two games 
(as indeed Gifford seems to have partly 
suspected), one called level-coil, the other, 
level-sice, which were quite distinct. 

Lich-Gate, or Gate of the 
Dectd. — The gate at or near the entrance 



364 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



to a church, where the funeral service was [ ceased^'' 
in former times often conducted. 

Lich-Wake or Lake-Wake.— It 

is otherwise known as the Lych-wake, Like- 
Avake, and Late-wake. Atkinson's Cleve- 
land Gloss. J 1868, p. 327-8. These appear 
to be variant forms of pronunciation, 
The word is plainly derived from the An- 
glo-Saxon lie or lice, a corpse, and wsecce, 
a wake, vigil, or watching. It is used in 
this sense by Chaucer in his "Knight's 
Tale" : 

" Shall not be told by me 
How that Arcite is brent to a^en cold, 
Ne how that there the Liohe-Wake was 

yhold 
All that night long." 

St. Gregory, in the Epistle treating of the 
death of his sister Macriiia, says : " Cum 
igitur nocturna Pervigilatio, ut in Marty- 
rum celebritate canendis Psalmis perfecta 
esset, et Crepusculum advenisset," &c. 
That watching with the corpse was an 
ancient custom everyv/here practised, 
numerous passages from ecclesiastical 
writers mignt be cited to prove, could 
there be any doubt of the antiquity of a 
custom, which, owing its origin to the 
tenderest affections of human nature, has 
perhaps on that account been used from 
the infancy of time. Ruddiman observes : 
" Proper Like Wakes (Scotish) are the 
meetings of the friends of the deceased, 
a night or nights before the burial." Glos- 
sary to Douglas's CEncid, v. Walkin. Jam- 
ieson says : ' ' This antient custom most 
probably originated from a silly supersti- 
tion with respect to the danger of a corpse 
being carried off by some of the agents of 
the invisible world, or exposed to the 
ominous liberties of brute animals. But, 
in itself, it is certainly a decent and pro- 
per one ; because of the possibility of the 
person, considered as dead, being only in 
a swoon. Whatever was the original de- 
sign, the lik-wake seems to have very early 
degenerated into a scene of festivity ex- 
tremely incongruous to the melancholy 
occasion." Etym. Diet. v. Lyh-Wahe. 
Hutchinson, speaking of the parish of 
Whitbeck in Cumberland, says : ' ' People 
always keep wake with the dead," and we 
learn from another source " that the Late 
Wake was in the last century a practice 
common in many parts of Scotland, and 
not yet exploded in Aberdeenshire, of 
people sitting up all night with the dead 
corps, in the chamber of the deceased." 
Again, we read: "It was customary for 
the folks at Campsie, co. Stirling, to have 
at least two lyke-wakes (the corpse being 
kept two nights before the interment) 
where the young neighbours watched the 
corpse, being merry or sorrowful, accord- 
ing to the situation or rank of the de- 



Cumberland, i. 



Ace. 



553 ; Stat 
of Scotland, v., 435, xv., 372. 

"In North Wales," says Pennant (speak- 
ing of the manners of the 18th century), 
"the night before a dead body is 
to be interred, the friends and neigh- 
bours of the deceased resort to the 
house the corpse is in, each bringins 
with him some small present of bread, 
meat, drink, (if the family be some- 
thing poor) ; but more especially candles, 
whatever the family be ; and this night is 
called loyl nos, whereby the country people 
seem to mean a watching night. Their 
going to such a house, they say, is i wilior 
corph, i.e. to watch the corpse ; but wylo 
signifies to weep and lament, and so wyl 
nos may be a night of lamentation : while- 
they stay together on that night, they are 
either singing psalms, or reading some 
part of the Holy Scriptures. " Whenever 
any body comes into the room where 
a dead body lyes, especially the wyl 



of its interment, 
does, he falls on 
corpse, and says 



nos and the day 
the first thing he 
his knees by the 
the Lord's Prayer." 

The abuse of this vigil is of pretty 
old standing. The 10th Canon at the 
provincial Synod held in London temp. 
Edw. III. "endeavours to prevent 
the disorders committed at people's 
watching a corpse before burial. Here 
the Synod takes notice that the de- 
sign of people's meeting together upon 
such occasions, was to join their prayers 
for the benefit of the dead person ; that 
this antient and serviceable usage was 
overgrown with superstition and turned 
into a convenience for theft and debauch- 
ery : therefore, for a remedy against this 
disorder, 'tis decreed that, upon the death 
of any person, none should be allowed to 
watch before the corpse in a private house;, 
excepting near relations and friends of 
the deceased, and such as offered to repeat 
a set number of psalms for the benefit of 
his soul." The penalty annexed is excom- 
munication. This is also mentioned in 
Becon's " Reliques of Rome," 1563, and 
comprized in the catalogue of crimes that 
were anciently cursed with bell, book and 
candle 

Bourne complains of the sport, drink- 
ing, and lewdness used at these Lake 
Wakes in his time. Even in Brand's day, 
they still continued to resemble too much 
the ancient Bacchanalian orgies. Pen- 
nant, in describing Highland ceremonies, 
says : " The lake wake is a ceremony usea 
at funerals. The evening after the death 
of any person, the relations or friends of 
the deceased meet at the house attended 
by a bagpipe or fiddle : the nearest of kin, 
be it wife, son, or daughter, opens a melan- 
choly ball, dancing and greeting, i.e. cry- 
ing violently at the same time ; and this 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



continues till day-light, but with such 
gambols and frolioks among the younger 
part of the company, that the loss which 
occasioned them is often more than sup- 
plied by the consequences of that night. 
If the corpse remain vm buried for two 
nights, the same rites are renewed. Thus, 
Scythian-like they rejoice at the deliver- 
ance of their friends out of this life of 
misery." He tells us in the same place 
that "the Coranich or singing at fune- 
rals is still in use in some places. The 
songs are generally in praise of the de- 
ceased, or a recital of the valiant deeds of 
their ancestors." Tour in Scotland, 1769, 
112. 

In Jamieson's time the Lych-Wake 
was retained in Sweden, where it was 
called Wakstuga, from wak-a, to watch, 
and perhaps stuga, a room, an apartment, 
or cottage. Ihre observes, tnat " al- 
though these wakes should be dedicated to 
the contemplation of our mortality, they 
have been generally passed in plays and 
compotations, whence they were pro- 
hibited in public edicts." tltym. Vict. v. 
Lyk-Waik ; Oloss. Suio-Ooth. v. Wahe. 

LJCh-VVa.y. — A way most direct for 
a funeral procession on foot from the house 
to the place of burial, and where a pre- 
cedent had been set, it was thought that 
a right was created for others to use the 
route even across private property. This 
belongs to the rather long roll of popular 
errors. The lich-way is cognate to the 
better-known lichgate and to the locality 
originally called Lichfield or the Field of 
the Dead. 

Lidford Law. — See Hazlitt's Pro- 
verbs, 1882, p. 141, and Lysons' Magna 
Britannia, Devonshire, 512, where it is 
stated that the lords of the manor of Tiv- 
erton had formerly the power of capital 
punishment. In Browne's Poems, by 
Hazlitt, 1869, p. 352, a passage in the 
verses headed Lidford Journey suggests 
that offences against the laws of the Stan- 
naries were punished by confinement in 
the gaol here ; for the writer thus con- 
cludes : 

"At sixe a clock I came away 

And prayde for those that were to stay 

Within a place so Arrant : 
Wild and ope to winds that rore. 
By Gods grace He come there no more, 
Vnlesse by some Tin Warrant." 

Liftingr Monday. — In the " House- 
hold Expences, 18 Edw. I." is this curious 
account: " Domine de camera Regine. 
XV. die Mail, vii dominabus et domicel'lis 
regine, quia ceperunt dominum regem in 
lecto sue, in crastino Pasche et ipsum fo- 
cerunt finire versus eas pro pace regis, 
quam fecit de dono suo per manus Hugo- 
nis de Cerru, Scutiferi domine de Weston. 



_ 365 

xiiijli." Archceologia for 1805. The tak- 
ing Edward Longshanks in his bed by the 
above party of ladies of the bedchamber 
and maids of honour, on Easter Monday, 
was very probably for the purpose of heav- 
ing or lifting the king, on the authority of 
a custom which then doubtless prevailed 
among all ranks throughout the kingdom,, 
and which is yet not entirely laid aside in 
some of our distant provinces ; a custom,, 
by which, however strange it may appear, 
they intended no less than to represent 
our Saviour's Resurrection. At Warring- 
ton, Bolton, and Manchester, and in many 
other places, as Liverpool, Shrewsbury, 
and in North Wales, on Easter Monday, 
the women, forming parties of six or eight 
each, still continue to surround such of 
the opposite sex as they meet, and, either 
with or without their consent, lift them 
thrice above their heads into the air, with 
loud shouts at each elevation. On Easter 
Tuesday, the men, in parties as aforesaid, 
do the same to the women. By both par-- 
ties it is converted into a pretence for fin- 
ing or extorting a small sum, which they 
always insist on having paid them by the 
persons whom they have thus elevated. In 
the " Gentleman's Magazine" for Febru- 
ary, 1784, p. 96, a gentleman from Man- 
chester says, that " Lifting was originally 
designed to represent our Saviour's Re- 
surrection. The men lift the women on. 
Easter Monday, and the women the men 
on Tuesday. One or more take hold of 
each leg, and one or more of each arm, 
near the body, and lift the person up, in 
a horizontal position, three times. It is 
a rude, indecent, and dangerous diversion, 
practised chiefly by the lower class people. 
Our magistrates constantly prohibit it 
by the bellman, but it subsists at the end 
of the town; and the women have of late 
years converted it into a money job. I 
believe it is chiefly confined to these- 
Northern counties." See Hoke-Tide, 
supra. Monthly Magazine for April, 
1798, p. 273 ; and Halliwell's Diet, in v. 

Ljg:hts in Churches (Medieval). 
— See Antiquary for January, 1892, for a 
paper on this subject. 

Limiter or Limitour. — A friar- 
licensed to beg within a certain radius. 

Lincoln Green.— See Nares, Gloss. 
in V. and a passage in Hazlitt's Tales and' 
Legends, 1892, p. 295-6, where mention 
occurs of scarlet cloth as well as green. 
In 1515 Henry VIII. and his companions 
celebrated May-Day, clad in liveries of 
Lincoln Green in imitation of Robin Hood 
and his men. 

Lincoln's Inn. — See Christmas, Lord 
of Misrule, &c. In 1662-3, the Prince de 
la Grange, Lord-Lieutenant of Lincolu's- 
Inn, entertained Charles II. with a page- 
ant called Universal Motion. 



366 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Linen Armourer. — The original 
vocation of the Merchant-Tailor, who 
quilted the armour worn in the middle 
ages ; the process is shown to some extent 
by the old arms of the Gild engraved in 
Hazlitt's work, 1892. 

Lin-ShordS. — A Lent custom at II- 
fraoombe. See Halliwell in v. 

Liquoring: of the Clouts.— The 
drinking bout formerly usual, when a ly- 
ing-in was in prospect at a house, and the 
lady's linen was being aired in readiness 
for the occasion. On October 1, 1721, the 
iEarl of Rochester's house at Petersham 
jtvas burnt down, and his fine library de- 
stroyed, by the inmates going up to bed 
intoxicated, and leaving the clothes at the 
fire. 

Little John (otherwise Micklejohn), 
the renowned comrade of Robin Hood, 
and also a dramatis persona in the May 
games. Among the extracts given by 
Lysons from the Churchwardens' and 
Chamberlain's Accounts at Kingston, 
there is an entry " for Little Johns cote." 
Both forms of the name are still current. 
Liturgica.1 Uses. — These are of 
rSalisbury, York, Salisbury and York 
jointly or in common, Hereford, Bangor, 
and England in general. In many lead- 
ing respects they differed little from the 
rituals printed for circulation abroad, and 
a considerable proportion of them were 
from the presses of Paris and Rouen. These 
service-books consisted of Missals, Horse, 
Primers in Latin and English or in Eng- 
lish alone, Officia, Manualia or Breviaries, 
Portiforia, Benedictiones, Antiphonalia, 
Oradualia or Grails, and Processionalia. 
They are for the most part of signal rarity, 
except a few of the later Primers, missals 
and manuals. Some have the i-eputation 
of being unique. All are difficult to find 
in good state. The sole text of the Dur- 
ham Benedictional is defective ; it is in 
Latin with an interlinear Anglo-Saxon 
^loss, and is probably the most ancient of 
the series, to which it belongs ; the nearest 
to it may be the Salisbury use, founded on 
Bishop Osmund's eleventh century proto- 
type. There is a very early Antiphonal 
belonging to the church of Bangor, oo. 
Down, Ireland, and the Huth Library pos- 
sesses a Missal ascribed to Bangor use, 
presented to the high altar of Oswestry 
parish church in 1554 ( ? 1454) by Sir Mor- 
ris Griffith, priest. Mr. Maskel'l, to whom 
the volume formerly belonged, judged it 
to be for the Welsh Bangor ; but there 
were constant relations between the Welsh 
borders and Ireland in remote times, and 
the attribution is at any rate dubious. 
The oldest processional in type appears to 
be that of 1508, reprinted with variations 
in 1517, 1523, and later. There is a fine 
Sarum Graduale of 1532. In regard to 



the mixed uses, MSS. Horai occur, m 
which many English prayers and even 
saints are found, although the service is 
nowhere expressly said to be in English 
in the exordium, and there are only occa- 
sional offices stated to be ad usum Sarum. 
This is the case, but far more rarely, with 
the York use, which was also widel.y dif- 
fused. There are monographs by Dickin- 
son and others relating to them, and bib- 
liographical descriptions in my Collections 
and Notes. 

Livery Cloth. — The Times of Dec. 
4, 1889, says : " Yesterday a very ancient 
custom — a relic of the days when the free- 
men and apprentices of the various com- 
panies used to wear the livery of their re- 
spective guilds — was observed at Guild- 
hall by the inspection and selection by the 
Court of Aldermen of the gifts of what is 
called "livery cloth," which are made, at 
this season to the great officers of state and 
other personages. The Lord Chancellor, 
the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the 
Rolls, the Lord Chamberlain, the Vice- 
Chamberlain, the Lord Steward, the Trea- 
surer and Controller of the Household, 
the Home Secretary, the Foreign Secre- 
tary, the Attorney-General, the Solicitor- 
General, the Recorder, and the Common 
Serjeant each receive annually four and 
a half yards of the best black cloth; the 
Town Clerk receives six yards of black and 
six of greon cloth, and the principal clerk 
in the Town Clerk's offices receives four 
yards of black and four yards of green 
cloth." 

Llandegfla, Denbighshire. — 

Pennant, speaking of the Church dedi- 
cated to St. Teola, Virgin and Martyr, 
at Llandegla, says : " About two hundred 
yards from the church, in a quillet called 
Gwern Degla, rises a small spring. The 
water is under the tutelage of the saint, 
and to this day held to be extremely bene- 
ficial in the falling sickness. The patient 
washes his limbs in the well; makes an 
offering into it of four-pence ; walks round 
it three times ; and thrice repeats the 
Lord's Prayer. These ceremonies are never 
begun until after sunset, in order to in- 
spire the votaries with greater awe. If 
the aiBioted be of the male sex, like Soc- 
rates, he makes an offering of a cock to 
his ^Esculapius, or rather to Tecla Hygeia; 
if of the fair sex, a hen. The fowl 
is carried in a basket, first round the well; 
after that into the church-yard ; when the 
same orisons and the same circum-ambu- 
l^tions are performed round the church. 4 
Ihe votary then enters the church; gets " 
under the Communion Table; lies down 
with the Bible under his or her head, is 
covered with the carpet or cloth, and rests 
there till break of day; departing after 
offering sixpence, and leaving the fowl in 



1. ^/A K/ S^J±Al. V^ 1^ t_r .1 V^lUtJa 



the church. If the bird dies, the cure is 
supposed to have been effected, and the 
disease transferred to the devoted victim." 
Tours in Wales, 1810, ii., 15. 

Loaves. — While walking by the river 
at King's Cliffe, two young men found 
the body of the lad who was drowned in 
the flooded stream a fortnight ago. Many 
attempts had been made to find the body, 
the most curious being to float down the 
river loaves of bread containing mercury. 



in the belief that bread so ' ' charmed 



will never go past a corpse. Strange to 
say, the body has been found in the stretch 
of water where the bread "stopped short." 
The superstitious have their beliefs in the 
potency of mercurised bread considerably 
strengthened. Daily Mail, Nov. 16, 1903. 

Lodam. — An old game at cards. See 
Nares, Glossary, 1859, in v., and the 
authorities there cited. 

Loggats. — Steevens says, " This is 
a game played in several parts of England 
even at this time. A stake is fixed into 
the ground ; those who play, throw loggats 
at it, and he that is nearest the stakes 
wins. I have seen it played in different 
counties at their sheep-shearing feasts, 
where the winner was entitled to a black 
fleece, which he afterwards presented to 
the farmer's maid to spin for the purpose 
of making a petticoat, and on condition 
that she knelt down on the fleece to be 
kissed by all the rustics present." Malone 
says, "Loggeting in the fields is mentioned 
for the first time among other new and 
crafty games and plays, in the statute of 
33 Hen. VIII. c. 9. Not being mentioned 
in former acts against unlawful games, it 
was probably not practised long before 
the statute of Henry the eighth was 
made." "A loggat-ground," says Blount, 
" like a skittle-ground, is strewed with 
ashes, but is more extensive. A bowl 
much larger than the jack of the game of 
bowls is thrown first. The pins, which I 
believe are called loggats, are much thin- 
ner, and lighter at one extremity than at 
the other. The bowl being first thrown 
the players take the pins up by the thin- 
ner and lighter end, and fling them to- 
wards the bowl, and in such a manner 
that the pins may once turn round in the 
air, and slide with the thinner extremity 
towards the bowl. The pins are about one 
or two-and-twenty inches long." 

Long: Bullets. — A game played by 
casting stones. See Davis, Suppl. Glos- 
sary, 1881, p. 384. 

Long Hundred, The.— We learn 
from Hickes's " Thesaurus," that the Nor- 
wegians and Islandic people used a method 
of numbering peculiar to themselves, by 
the addition of the words, Tolfrsedr, or 
Tolfroed, or Tolfreet (whence our word 
twelve), which made ten signify twelve; 



y^ 

a hundred, a hundred and twenty; a, 
thousand, a thousand two hundred; &c. 
The reason of this was, that the nations 
above-named had two decads or tens : a 
lesser, which they used in common with 
other nations, consisting of ten units ; and 
a greater, containing twelve (tolf) units. 
Hence, by the addition of the word Tol- 
frsedr, or Tolfraed, the hundred contained 
not ten times ten, but ten times twelve, 
that is a hundred and twenty. The Doc- 
tor observes that this Tolfraedic mode of 
computation by the greater decads, or 
tens, which contain twelve units, is still 
retained amongst us in reckoning certain 
things by the number twelve, which the 
Swedes call dusin, the French douzain, 
and we dozen. And I am informed, he 
adds, by merchants, &c., that in the num- 
ber, weight and measure of many things 
the hundred among us still consists of that 
greater tolfraedic hundred which is com- 
posed of ten times twelve. Hence then 
without doubt is derived to us the pre- 
sent mode of reckoning many things by 
six score to the hundred. By the statute, 
25 Hen. VIII., c. 13, no person shall have 
above two thousand sheep on his land ; 
and the twelfth section (after reciting that 
the hundred in every county be not alike, 
some reckoning by the great hundred, or 
six score, and others by five score), de- 
clares that the number two thousand shall 
be accounted ten hundred for every thou- 
sand, after the number of the great hun- 
dred, and not after the less hundred, so 
that every thousand shall contain twelve 
hundred after the less number of the 
hundred. Percy observes, upon the 
Northumberland Household Book, "It will 
be necessary to premise here, that the an- 
tient modes of computation are retained 
in this book ; accorcfing to which it is only 
in money that the hundred consists of five 
score : in all other articles the enumera- 
tions are rnade by the old Teutonic hun- 
dred of six score, or a hundred and 
twenty." In the 18th century, a man died 
at Parton in Scotland, aged above ninety, 
who, about eight months before his death, 
got a complete set of new teeth, which he 
employed till near his last breath to ex- 
cellent purpose. He was four times mar- 
ried, had children by all his wives, and, at 
the baptism of his last child, which hap- 
pened not a year before his death, with an 
air of complacency expressed his thank- 
fulness to his Maker for having "at last 
sent him the cled score," i.e. twenty-one. 
See Hazlitt's Proverbs, 1882, p. 142. 

Long: Rope Day— At Brighton, 
Good Friday goes under the name of 
"Long Rope Day." The children of all 
growths bring up the ropes from the 
beach, and skip about the streets. Thi,s 
was done as lately as 1863. 



368 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Lord, have Mercy upon Us!— 

The inscription on houses infected with 
the plague. See Nares, Gloss, in v., and 
Hazlitt's Eandhook, 1867, and Bibl. Coll., 
iii., 36. 

Lord of Misrule "In the feast 

of Christmas," says Stow in his "Survey," 
"there was in the King's House, where- 
soever he lodged, a Lord of Misrule, or 
Master of merry disports, and the like had 
ye in the house of every nobleman of hon- 
our or good worship, were he spiritual or 
temporal. The Mayor of London and 
either of the sheriffs had their several lords 
of misrule, ever contending, without quar- 
rel or offence, who should make the rarest 
pastime to delight the beholders. These 
lords, beginning their rule at Allhallond 
Eve, continued the same till the morrow 
after the feast of the Purification, com- 
monly called Candlemas Day : in which 
space there were fine and subtle disguis- 
ings, masks, and mummeries, with playing 
at cards for counters, nayels, and points 
in every house, more for pastimes than for 
gaine." Ellis prints a letter from the 
Council of the Princess Mary's household 
to Cardinal Wolsey, supposed to have been 
written in 1525, several years before the 
date of the " Privy Purse Expenses " pub- 
lished by Madden ; in this document we 
get a glimpse of unusually splendid and 
costly prepartions for the then approach- 
ing Chrismas holidays. The letter is 
dated Tewkesbury, November 27, without 
any note of the year. The following pas- 
sage may be worth extracting : " We hum- 
bly beseche the same (your grace) to let 
us knowe youre gracious pleasure concern- 
yng aswell a ship of silver for the almes 
dishe requysite for her high estate, and 
spice plats, as also for trumpetts and a 
rebek to be sent, and whyther we shall ap- 
poynte any Lord of Mysrule for the said 
honorable householde, or provide for en- 
terluds, disgysyngs, or pleyes in the said 
fest, or for banket on twelf nyght." 
Among the Loseley Papers, printed by 
Kempe in 1836, are several relating to 
George Ferrers, of St. Albans, Herts, who 
was Lord of Misrule to Edward VI. Fer- 
rers, in this official capacity, composed a 
variety of masques and interludes, which 
are no longer known to exist, and he is 
also the author of one or two of the leg- 
ends in the " Mirror for Magistrates," of 
which Mr. Kempe, by an oversight, de- 
scribes him as the principal writer. Fer- 
rers received his appointment at Christ- 
mas, 1551, and although his literary per- 
formances as lord of misrule seem to have 
perished, a good deal of valuable corres- 
pondence illustrative of his functions and 
proceedings is inserted in Mr. Kempe's 
volume from the originals at Loseley. 
There is one singularly interesting letter 



in this series, in which Ferrers narrates 
the manner of his entry into London in 
1551, and the proposed devices for tne 
same ceremony in the following year. As- 
towching my Introduction," he writes to 
Sir Thomas Cawarden, " whereas the last 
yeare my devise was to cum of oute or the- 
mono, this yeare I imagine to cum oute 
of a place called vastum vacuum, the 
great waste, as moche to sale as a place 
voide or emptie w'i'out the worlde, whera 
is neither fier, ayre, nor earth ; and that 
I have bene remayning there sins the last 
yeare." He desired to be attired in blue 
velvet and he wished, if possible, to be 
with the King on St. Stephen's Day before 
dinner. He had provided a man to play 
on a kettle-drum_, with his boy, and an- 
other drummer with a fife, who were to be 
dressed like Turks ; and so forth. Comp. 
my Prefaces, Dedications, and Epistles, 
1874, p. 69. There cannot, perhaps, 
be a more remarkable proof of the 
importance which was attached to 
these mummeries at Christmas than the 
form, in which the warrants were 
drawn up for any arrangements connected 
with them ; even the order for a fool's coat 
is signed by six of the Privy Council. 
Henry Percy, fifth Earl of Northumber- 
land, it seems from his Household-book for 
1512, was accustomed, when he was at 
home at Christmas, to engage a lord of 
misrule, who had 30s. in reward. 

Henry Machyn notes in his "Diary" 
under January 4, 1551-2: "The iiij. day 
of Januarii was mad a grett skaffold in 
chepe hard by the orosse, agaynst the 
kynges lord of myssrule cummyng from 
Grenwyclie ; and he landed at Towre warff, 
and with hym yonge knyghts and gentyll- 
men a gret nombur on hosse bake sum in 
gownes and cotes and chaynes abowt ther 
nekes, and on the Towre hyll ther they 
went in order, furst a standard of yelow 
and grene sylke with Saint George, and 
then gonnes and skuybes (squibs) and 
trompets and bagpipes, and drous- 
selars and flutes, and then a gret 
compeny all in yelow and gren, and doc- 
turs declaryng my lord grett, and then 
the mores danse dansyng with a tabret," 
&c. In the Christmas of 1553, it is re- 
corded that Sheriff Maynard " had a lord 
of misrule, and the mores dansse, with a 
good compeny." This lord, we learn from 
Stow's Chronicle, 1631, p. 608, was Ser- 
jeant Vawce or Vaux. The pastime seems 
to have engaged the attention of the Diar- 
ist, for he inserts several entries under 
the same head in various years. The ( 
Sheriff's lord met the King's lord on the 
present occasion, and on others, and the 
two joined in procession through a portion 
of the City, till the King's lord took leave 
of his brother-mome at Tower wharf by 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



369 



Sheriff Maynard's procession with his 
torch-light. Machyn's description of 
lord of misrule, in 1553, is too curious 
and picturesque to be omitted. "The 
xvij day of March cam thrug London, 
from Algatt, Master Maynard, the 
sheryff of London, wyth a standard 
and dromes, and after gyants boyth 
great and smalle, and theur hobe- 
horsseSj and aft«r them the g . . ., 
and affter grett horsses and men in cotes 
of velvet, with chains of gold a-bowt ther 
nekes, and men in harnes ; and then the 
mores dansse, and then mony mynsterells ; 
and after came the sergantes and yomen 
on horsse-bake with rebyns of green and 
whyte abowtt ther nekes, and then la. . 
.... late beyng lord of myssruUe, rod 
gorgyusly in cloth of gold, and with 
cheynes of gold abowt hys neke, with hand 
fulle of rynges of gret waluw, the which 
serjants rod in cotes of velvet with cheynes 
of gold ; and then com the dullo, and a 
sawden, and then a priest shreyffyng Jack- 
of-lent on horss-bake, and a doctor ys 
fezyssyoun, and then Jack-of-lents wyff 
browght him ye fessyssyouns and bad save 
ys lyff, and he shuld give him ,1 
thowsand li. for ys labur; and then 
cam the carte with the wyrth hangyd 
with cloth of gold, and fulle of 
banners and mynsterels plahyng and syng- 
yng." Sheriff Maynard, Machyn else- 
where tells us, kept a large establishment. 
He was buried on the 12th November, 
1557. 

These costly proceedings appear to 
have been disapproved by the citizens ; 
for by an Act or Common Council, 1 and 
2 Phil, and Mary, for retrenching expenses 
among other things, it was ordered, "that 
from henceforth there shall be no wyth 
fetcht home at the Maiors or Sheriffs 
Houses. Neither shall they keep any 
lord of misrule in any of their houses." 
Strype's Stow, Book i. p. 246. Machyn 
describes a gorgeous lord of misrule who 
rode through London in 1561, followed by 
an hundred gentlemen on horseback, with 
gold chains ; and Machyn says that my 
lord himself was "in clene complett har- 
nes, gylt." 

Stubbes affords the following account 
of the Lord of Misrule: " Firste, 
all the wilde heades of the Parishe, con- 
uentyng together, chuse them a graund 
Capitaine (of misoheef ) whom they innoble 
with the title of my Lorde of Misserule, 
and hym they crown with great solemni- 
tie, and adopt for their kyng. This kyng 
anoynted, chuseth for the twentie, fortie, 
three-score, or a hundred lustie guttes like 
to hymselfe, to waite vppon his Lordely 
maiestie, and to guarde his noble persone. 
Then euery one of these his menne he in- 
uesteth with his liueries, of greene, yel- 



lowe, or some other light wanton colour. 
And as though that were not (baudie) 
gaudy enough I should saie, they bedecke 
themselues with soarffes, ribons, and laces, 
hanged all ouer with golde rynges, preci- 
ous stones, and other jewelles : this doen, 
they tye about either legge twentie or 
fourtie belles with rich hande-kercheefes 
in their handes, and somtymes laied a 
crosse ouer their shoulders and neckes, 
borrowed for the moste parte of their 

Eretie Mopsies and loouyng Bossies for 
ussyng them in the darcke. Thus all 
thinges sette in order, haue they their 
hobble horses, dragos, and other antiques, 
together with their baudie pipers, and 
thunderyng drommers, to strike vp the 
Deuilles Daunce withall, then marche 
these heathen companie towardes the 
churche and churche-yarde, their pipers 
pipyng, their drommers thonderyng, their 
stumppes dauncyng, their belles iynglyng, 
their handkerchefes swyngyng about their 
heades like madmen, their hobbie horses, 
and other monsters skirmishyng amongest 
the throng ; and in this sorte they goe to 
the churche, (though the minister bee at 
praier or preachyng) dauncyng and 
swingyng their handkercheefes ouer their 
heades, in the church, like Deuilles incar- 
nate, with suche a confused noise, that no 
man can heare his owne voice. Then the 
foolishe people, they looke, they stare, 
they laugh, they fleere, and mount upon 
formes and pewes, to see these goodly 
pageauntes, solemnized in this sort. Then 
after this, about the churche they goe 
againe and againe, and so forthe into the 
churche yarde, where they have commonly 
their Sommer haules, their bowers, ar- 
bours, and banquettyng houses set vp, 
wherein they feaste, banquet, and daunce 
all that dale, and (peraduenture) all that 
night too. And thus these terrestial furies 
spend their Sabbaoth daie. Then for the 
further innoblyng of this honorable Lur- 
dane (Lorde I shoulds aye) they have also 
certaine papers, wherein is paynted some 
babblerie or other, of imagerie worke, and 
these they call my Lord of Misrules badges, 
these thei geue to euery one, that will 
geue money for the to maintaine them in 
this their heathenrie, diuelrie, whoredome, 
dronkennesse, pride, and what not. And 
who will not shewe himselfe buxome to 
them, and geue the money for these the 
deuilles cognizaunces, they shall be 
mocked, and shouted at shamefully. And 
so assotted are some that they not ouely 
giue them money, to maintain their ab- 
homination withall, but also weare their 
badges and cognizances in their hattes, or 
cappes openly. An other sorte of fan- 
tasticall fooles, bring to these helhoundes 
(the lorde of Misrule and his complices) 
some bread : some good ale, some newe 



370 



NATIONAL rAITHS 



chese, some olde cheese, some custardes, 
some cakes, some flaunes, some tartes, some 
creame, some meate, some one thing, some 
an other : but if they knewe that as often 
as they bring any to the maintenance of 
these execrable pastymes, they offer sacri- 
fice to the Deuill and Sathanas, they 
would repent, and withdrawe their hands, 
whiche Gfod graunt they male." 

In the "Lincoln Articles," 1585, 
one is: — "Whether your Minister or 
Churchwardens have suffered any lord 
of Misrule, or Sommer lords, or ladies 
or any disguised person in Christ- 
mas, or at Maigames, or morris 
dancers or at any other time, to 
come unreverently into the churchyard, 
and there to daunce or play any unsemely 
part with scoffs, iestes^ wanton gestures, 
or ribald talk, namely in the time of com- 
mon praier? " I find the following in the 
York Articles (any year till 1640) : — 
' ' Whether hath your church or church- 
yard beene abused and prophaned by any 
fighting, chiding, brawlingj or quarrelling, 
and playes, Lords of Misrule, summer 
lords, morris-dancers, pedlers, bowlers, 
bearewards, butchers leastes, schooles, 
temporal courts, or leets, lay-juries, mus- 
ters, or other prophane usage in your 
church or church-yard." 

Lodge, in his " Wits Miserie," 1596, p. 
84, speaking of a jeaster, says : " This fel- 
low in person is comely, in apparel courtly, 
but in oehaviour a very ape, and no man ; 
his studye is to coine bitter jeastes, or to 
show antique motions, or to sing bandie 
sonnets and ballads : give him a little 
wine in his head, he is continually Sear- 
ing and making of mouths ; he laughs in- 
temperately at every little occasion, and 
dances about the houses, leaps over tables, 
outskips men's heads, trips up his com- 
panions' heeles, burns sacke with a candle, 
and hath all the feates of a Lord of Miss- 
rule in the countrie. It is a special marke 
of him at table, he sits and makes faces." 
Hinde, in his " Life of Bruen," p. 86, cen- 
sures those gentlemen " who had much 
rather spend much of their estate in main- 
taining idle and base persons to serve 
their owne lustes and satisfie the humour 
of a rude and profane people as many do 
their hors-riders, faulkeners, huntsmen, 
lords of misrule, pipers, and minstrels, 
rather to lead them and their followers 
(both in their publick assemblies and pri- 
vate families) a dance about the calfe, 
than such a dance as David danced before 
the Arke, with spiritual rejoicing in God's 
mercies,' &c." Urquhart, in " The Dis- 
covery of a most exquisite Jewel, &c." 
1651, p. 238, says : " They may be said to 
use their King as about Christmas we used 
to do the King of Misrule, whom we invest 
with that title to no other end, but to 



countenance the Bacchanalian riots and 
preposterous disorders of the family where 
he is installed." Christmas, says Selden, 
in his " Table Talk," succeeds the Satur- 
nalia, the same time, the same number of 
holy days : then the Master waited upon 
the servant like the lord of misrule. The 
name only of the Lord of Misrule is now 
remembered. In Scotland he was known 
as the Abbot of Misrule, or of Bon Accord. 

In a similar way, Peter the .Great of 
Russia had his prince-pope, who was head 
of a College of Pools. One of Peter's last 
acts was to hold an election to supply 
the place of Buturlin ; and an account of 
the ceremony has been given in a Trans- 
atlantic magazine, Scribner's Monthly, 
xxii., 886. This Abbot of Misrule, or 
Unreason, appears to have borne much 
resemblance to the Abbas Stultorum, who 
presided over the Feast of Fools in France. 
At Rodez, the capital of the Province of 
Rovergue in France, they had an Abbe de 
la Malgouverne, who corresponds exactly 
with our Abbot of Misrule. See Warton's 
" Obs. on the F. Q." vol. ii., p. 211. See 
also Fuller's "Church History," 1655. 
"Hist, of Cambridge," p. 159. Life of 
Dr. Dee in Joan. Glastoniensis Chronica, 
ed. 1726, append, p. 502, Dugd. " Orig. 
Jurid." ed. 1671, pp. 154, 156, 247, 285. 
In a Calendar Historical, printed at Ge- 
neva, 1569, the only holy-day marked is 
February 18 : " The holie-day of foles and 
misrules was kept at Rome." This entry 
seems to refer to the ecclesiastical Feast 
of Fools, a survival in an altered form of 
the Roman Saturnalia. Wright's Archma- 
logical Album, 1845, pp. 161-4, where a 
very interesting account may be found of 
this continental and Catholic festival and 
orgy. 

Lordship or Seignioralty. — The 
gernainal or primary notion and principle 
resident in rule of any kind by a man over 
his fellow-men were the engagement to 
provide them with the means of susten- 
ance ; and the first idea of conquest is to 
be similarly sought in the need on the part 
of growing communities of additional 
sources of food. Hampton's Origines 
Patricice, 1846, chapters lii. and iv. Sel- 
den puts the matter differently, goes down 
less to the root, where he writes: "A 
king is a thing men have used for their 
own sakes, for quietness' sake. Just as in 
a family one man is appointed to buy the 
meat. ..." Table Talh, 1689, ed. 1860, 
p. 172. The development and evolution 
of royalty have overlaid the foundation of 
it, and in the modern kingship and kingly 
prerogative and majesty we lose the com- 
mencement of the system. The term lady 
equally owes itself to the idea of food, sig- 
nifying Loaf-Giver. 

Love. — To play at a game of chance 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



371 



for love is to play for nothing. At the 
game of ping-pong the two parties en- 
gaged are said to be so many to love, that 
is, so many to nothing. 

Love CharmSi Philtresi &c. — 
Theocritus and Virgil have both intro- 
duced women into their pastorals, using 
charms and incantations to recover the 
affections of their sweethearts. In Brad- 
shaw's " Shepherd's Starre," 1591, sig. B, 
which is a paraphrase of the third of 
the Canticles of Theocritus, Dialogue- 
wise. Amaryllis. Corydon. Tityrus, 
Corydon says: "There is a custome 
amongest us swaynes in Crotona, (an aun- 
cient towne in Italy, on that side where 
Sicilia bordereth), to elect by our divina- 
tion Lordes and Ladies, with the leaf of 
the flower telephilon, which being laide 
before the fier leapeth unto them whom it 
loveth, and skippeth from them whom it 
hateth. Tityrus and I, in experience of 
our lott, whose happe it should be to in- 
joye your love, instead of Telephilon we 
burned mistletoe and boxe for our divina- 
tion, and unto me Amaryllis you fled, and 
chose rather to turne to an unworthy shep- 
herd, then to burne like an unworthy 
lover." Again, at sig. G 2, occurs: — 
" Lately, I asked counsell of Agrseo, a 
prophetesse, how to know Amaryllis should 
ever love mee, shee taught mee to take 
telephilon, a kinde of leafe that pepper 
beareth, so called of Ar]\i(f>iXov, because 
it foresheweth love, and to clap the leaves 
in the palme of my hand. If tliey yeelded 
a great sound, then surely shee should love 
me greatly ; if a little sound, then little 
love. But either I was deafe, being fence- 
les through love, or else no sound at all 
was heard, and so Agrseo the Divinatrix 
tolde me a true rule. Now I preferre my 
garlande made in sorrowfull hast, of which 
the flowers, some signifying death, and 
som mourning, but none belonging to mar- 
riage, do manifest that Amaryllis hath no 
respect of meane men." He had before 
said : "I will go gather a coronet, and 
will weave and infolde it with the knottes 
of truest love, with greene lawrell Apollos 
scepter, which shall betoken her wisedome, 
and with the myrtle faire Venus poesie, 
which shall shewe her beautie. And with 
Amaranthus Dianas Herbe, whereby bloud 
is stenched, so may shee imitate the herbe, 
and have remorce." Newton enquires, 
under breaches of the seventh command- 
mentj "Whether, by any secret sleight or 
cunning, as drinkes, drugges, medicines, 
charmed potions, amatorious philters, 
figures, characters, or any such like pal- 
tering instruments, devises, or practises, 
thou hast gone about to procure others to 
doate for love of thee." Tryall of a man's 
own Selfe, 1586, p. 116. Ferrand adds : 
" It is most certain that Botanomancy, 



which is done by the noise or crackling 
that Kneeholme, box, or bay-leaves make 
when they are crushed betwixt one's 
hands, or cast into the fire, was of old in 
use among the Pagans, who were wont to 
bruise poppy flowers betwixt their hands, 
by this meanes thinking to know their 
loves : and for this cause Theocritus cals 
this hearb TtjXi^iAov, quasi AryAi^iXov, as 
if we should say Tel-love." The same 
author, speaking of the ancient love 
charms, characters, amulets, or such like 
periapses, says, they are "such as no 
Christian Physitian ought to use : not- 
withstanding that the common people doe 
to this day too superstitiously believe and 
put in practice many of these paganish 
devices. Erotomania, 1640, pp. 176, 
310. It is said elsewhere of the quack 
astrologer that "He trapans a young 
heiress to run away with a footman, by 
perswading a young girl 'tis her destiny : 
and sells the old and ugly philtres and 
love-powder to procure them sweethearts." 
Character of a Q. A., 1675, sign. C 2. Lyly, 
in " Euphues and his England," 1580, 
makes one of his characters say : "I haue 
hearde often-tymes that in loue there are 
three things for to bee vsed : if time serue, 
violence, if wealth be great, gold, if ueces- 
sitie compel, sorcerie. But of these three 
but one can stande me in-steede, the last, 
but not the least, which is able to worke 
the mindes of all the woemen like wax, 
when the others can scarce wind them like 
a with." He proceeds to enumerate vari- 
ous spells and charms, which seem to be 
intended satirically by the author. Lovers, 
indeed, have always been fond of enchant- 
ment. Shakespear has represented Othello 
as accused of winning his Desdemona " by 
conjuration and mighty magic." Bra- 
bantio, for instance, says to Othello, refer- 
ring to Desdemona : 

"Thou hast practis'd on her with 

foul charms ; 
Abus'd her delicate youth with drugs 

or minerals 
That weaken motion : " — 
Again, the same person exclaims : 

" She is abus'd, stol'n from me, and 

corrupted 
By spells and medicines bought of 

mountebanks." 

' ' I therefore vouch again 

That with some mixtures powerful o'er 

the blood. 
Or with some dram conjur'd to this 

effect 
He wrought upon her." 
Act i., so. 2-3. 

" Gelas. Doe you thinck, 
Is't possible to obteyne a maydens loue 
By pouders or by philtres? 

Pseud. Art thou Venus vassall ? 



.372 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Oelas. I am a man compact of flesh 

and blood ; 
I feel a stirring heate. 

Pseud. Vpon the mountaines of Thes- 

salia 
I doe remember that I sawe an oake, 
That brought forth goulden akornes of 

greate price : 
If any young man had but one of theis, 
The maides would almost dye for lone of 

him." 

Timon, a Play, i., 4. In the " Letting of 
Humours Blood in the Head-Vaine," 1600, 
by S. Rowlands, the author speaks of an 
odd kind of charm or philtre for procur- 
ing love : 

"(sayes he) take me a turtle-doue, 

And in an ouen let her lie and bake 
So dry, that you may powder of her 

make : 
Which being put into a cup of wine, 
The wench that drinkes it, will to loue 
incline." 

Browne, the Devonshire poet, instructs 
us that there was formerly a kind of love- 
charm performed with the leaves of the 
alder : 

" Then comes another, and her hand 

bereaues 
The sooue slipt alder of two clammy 

leaues. 
And clapping them together, bids him 

see 
And learne of loue the hidden mystery. 
Braue Flood (quoth she) that hold'st vs 

in suspence. 
And shew'st a God-like powre in abstin- 
ence. 
At this thy coldnesse we doe nothing 

wonder. 
These leaues did so, when once they grew 

asunder ; 
But since the one did taste the others 

blisse, 
And felt his partners kinde, partake 

with his. 
Behold how close they ioyne." 

He refers to another, which also does not 
seem to be elsewhere on record : 

"Those, seen of one who every herbe 
would try. 

And what the blood of elephants im- 
parts 

To coole his flame, yet would he (forced) 
cry, 

Love ! why to wounde her had I not thy 
darts?" 

Loudon describes the Scabiosa as a kind of 
medicinal weed, used in cutaneous com- 
plaints, and the elephant is a variety of 
this. The subsequent passage from Swet- 
nam's "Arraignment of Women," 1615, 
points out some of the vagaries of lovers 



of that age: "Some thinke, that if a 
woman smile on them she is presentlie 
over head and eares in love. One must 
weare her glove, another her garter, an- 
other her colours of delight." Heath, in his 
"House of Correction," 1619, has an epi- 
gram "In Pigmseum," which shrewdly 
animadverts upon this folly of the age. 
Herrick has — 

" A Charme, or an Allay, for Love. 
If so be a toad be laid 
In a sheep-skin newly flaid. 
And that ty'd to man, 'twil sever 
Him and his affections ever." 

Aubrey has the following direction for 
anybody who wishes to know whom he 
shall marry: "You must lie in another 
county, and knit the left garter about the 
right-legged stocking (let the other garter 
and stocking alone), and, as you rehearse 
these following, at every comma, knit a 
knot : 

' This knot I knit, 

To know the thing I know not yet, 

That I may see, 

The man (woman) that shall my hus- 
band (wife) be. 

How he goes, and what he wears, 

And what he does, all days, and years. " 
Miscellanies, ed. 1857, chapter on Magic. 

" In the True Fortune Teller," an early 
chap-book, there is a recipe "To know 
whether a woman will have the man she 
wishes": — "Get two lemon-peels, wear 
them all day, one in each pocket ; at night 
rub the four posts of the bedstead with 
them ; if she is to succeed, the person will 
appear in her sleep, and present her with 
a couple of lemons ; if not, there is no 
hope !" Girls made trial also of the fide- 
lity of their swains by sticking an apple- 
kernel on each cheek ; or, according to a 
writer in the "Connoisseur," two on the 
forehead. That which fell first indicated 
that the love of him whose name it bore 
was unsound. Something of this kind 
occurs in the eighth chapter of Beroaldus's 
"Life of Claudius Csesar." If a person 
desires to be revenged on a false lover, 
take a bird's heart, and at midnight stick 
it full of pins : a likeness of the person, 
whom you have thus published, will imme- 
diately appear to you in great agony. 
Among the poorer classes, some dragon's 
blood, carefully wrapped in paper, and 
thrown on to the fire, whilo the person 
using the charm repeats — 

" May he no pleasure or profit see, 
Till he comes back again to me — " 
was supposed to have efficacy in conjuring 
back a neglectful or perfidious lover. This 
practice is of kin to the Turkish creed, 
that the hysena (probably in a state of 
solution, but how taken does not appear 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



373 



anywhere) was of service in love-philtres 
as a means contributing to the recovery 
of estranged affections. It appears to 
have been considered formerly an effica- 
cious method of causing a man to dream 
of his mistress, or a woman of her lover, 
to "Hide some dazy-roots under your 
pillow, and hang your shoes out of the 
window." Scott's Mock Marriage, 1696, 
.Sign. G. The young girls in Northamp- 
tonshire pull out the threads from the 
blossom of the knapweed, and deposit them 
in their bosoms, and if they name their 
lover, and guess right, the bud within an 
Tiour will flower again. The young women 
of Craven, observes Carr, " have a custom 
•of using kale by way of a charm, when they 
are desirous of knowing whom they shall 
afterwards marry. The rules observed by 
the person who practices it are these : At 
hedtime she stands on something on which 
she never stood before, and repeats the 
following lines, holding in her hand a pot 
•of cold kale : 

" Hot kale, or cold kale, I drink thee, 

If ever I marry a man, or a man marry 
me, 

I wish this night I may him see, to-mor- 
row may him ken 

In church, fair, or market above all 
other men.' 

^' She then drinks nine times, goes to bed 
■backwards, and during the night she ex- 
pects to see, in a dream, her future hus- 
band." Dialect of Craven, 1828, in v. 
Kale. They have another love-charm in 
the North, peculiar to St. Faith's Day, the 
€th of October. A flour-cake is made (the 
ingredients being flour, spring-water, salt 
and sugar) by three maidens or three 
widows, each taking an equal part. It is 
baked before the fire in an oven, no one 
speaking during the process, and each 
must turn it three times. It is divided, 
-when ready, into three equal parts ; each 
cuts her share into nine small slices, and 
passes each slice three times through a 
wedding-ring, the property of some woman 
who has been married not less than seven 
years. Then they undress, and during the 
time they are so occupied, they must eat 
the slices, repeating these lines : 

" 0, good St. Faith, be kind to night, 
And bring to me my heart's delight : 
Let me my future husband view, 
And be my visions chaste and true." 

They all sleep in one bed, and the ring 
must be placed at the head of it ; and then 
they are sure to obtain the desired object. 
■Compare Charms. 

Love-Feast. — An annual feast cele- 
brated in some parishes on the Thursday 
next before Easter. Halliwell in v. 



Love Powder or Potion. — In the 

" Connoisseur, " No. 56, was publicly ad- 
vertised a most efficacious love powder, by 
which a despairing lover might create 
affection in the bosom of the most cruel 
mistress. "We have in Gay's " Shepherd's 
Week" : 

" Strait to the 'Pothecary's shop I went, 
And in love powder all my money spent, 
Behap what will, next Sunday after 

prayers, 
When to the ale-house Lubberkin re- 
pairs. 
These golden flies into this mug I'll 

throw. 
And soon the swain with fervent love 
shall glow." 

Werenfels says : " Whenever the supersti- 
tious person is in love, he will complain 
that tempting powder has been given 
him.'' Miss Blandy, who was executed 
for poisoning her father, persisted to the 
last in affirming that she thought the pow- 
der which her villainous lover, Cranston, 
sent her to administer to him was a love 
powder, which was to conciliate her 
father's affection to the villain. She met 
her death with this asseveration, and I 
presume that those who have considered 
the wonderful power of superstition, added 
to the fascination of love, will be half per- 
suaded to believe that she did not go out 
of the world with a lie in her mouth. Her 
dying request, too, to be buried close to 
her father, appears to me a corroborating 
proof that she was not, in the blackest 
sense of the word, his wilful murderess. 

Loving; Cup. — The cup, one with 
two handles, and generally of silver, used 
at the public banquets of municipal bodies, 
in particular the Corporation of London 
and City Companies. The ceremony is 
too familiar to require description. 

Low or White Sunday. — (First 
Sunday after Easter). Sometimes called 
Quasimodo Sunday, or the Little Sunday 
after Easter. It is spelled Loe Sunday in 
a printed copy of the sermon delivered by 
the King's Chaplain, before James I., his 
family, and council, on that anniversary 
in the year 1606. The word Whit may be 
derived from the Dutch Uit ; in that Li- 
turgy the festival is so termed. Fry's Bib- 
liogr., Memoranda., 1816, p. 42. This day 
appears to have received its designation 
of Low from the circumstance that it is 
the lowest, i.e. latest day for discharging 
the Easter Dues or offerings, and of white, 
becaus<» on that day the neophytes discon- 
tinued the white garments assumed by 
them on Easter Eve, or Holy Saturday. 
Blount, in his Jocular Tenures (Hazlitt's 
ed., 1874, p. 206-7), speaks of a custom, 
which once prevailed on Low Sunday at 
Lostwithiel, in Cornwall: "On Low Sun- 



374 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



day, tho freeholders of the town and 
manor assembled in an adjoining field, 
and from amongst them one was chosen, 
whom they dressed in the most sumptuous 
manner, with a crown on his head, a scep- 
tre in his hand, and, being mounted on a 
fine horse, a sword of state was carried 
before him, while all the freeholders 
walked in procession through the prin- 
cipal street to the church. When he ar- 
rived at the great gate, the curate, dressed 
in his best robes, received him, and con- 
ducted him to a princely seat in the 
church to hear mass. This being over, he 
repaired, in the same pompous manner, to 
a house provided for that purpose, where 
a feast was made for all his attendants, 
he sitting at the head of the table, and 
being served by the principal townsmen, 
kneeling, together with all other marks of 
respect usually shown to regal dignity." 

Lubin, The. — I do not find that there 
has ever been any traditional belief in a 
creature of this soi-t in England. It ap- 
pears to have been credited in France, or 
at least in some parts of that country, 
that a spirit, in the likeness of a wolf, 
haunted the vicinity of cemeteries and 
churchyards, in the endeavour to prey on 
the bodies of the dead, like the ghoul of 
Arabian fiction. 

Lubrican. — I find Lubrican as the 
name of a spirit in the second part of Dek- 
ker's " Honest Whore," 1630, signat. E 3 : 

— " As for your Irish Lubrican, that 

spirit 
Whom by preposterous charmes thy lust 

hath raised 
In a wrong circle, him He damne more 

blacke 
Then any tyrants soule." 

A jealous husband is threatening an Irish 
servant, with whom he suspects his wife 
to have played false. 

Luck-Money. — A payment still 
made, but not in the same general way as 
formerly, by the salesman to the buyer at 
fairs and markets : 2s. per score on sheep 
and Is. a head on bullocks, an essential 
feature in the transaction being that the 
recipient should spit on the coin or coins. 
This is a practice and belief borrowed from 
the ancient Egyptians by the inhabitants 
of modern Egypt, and derived through the 
former and the Greeks and Romans by 
ourselves. It is common to most parts of 
the European continent, and is distinct 
from the Handsel or Sandgeld. 

Luck of Eden Hall. — Hutchin- 
son, speaking of Eden-Hall, says : "In 
this house are some good old-fashioned 
apartments. An old painted drinking 
glass, called the Luck of Eden Hall, is 
preserved with great care. In the garden 
near to the house, is a well of excellent 



spring water, called St. Cuthbert's Well, 
(the church is dedicated to that saint) ; 
this glass is supposed to have been a sa- 
cred chalice ; but the legendary tale is, that 
the butler going to draw water, surprised 
a company of fairies, who were amusing 
themselves upon the green, near the well : 
he seized the glass, which was standing 
upon its margin ; they tried to recover it ; 
but after an inefieotual struggle, flew 
away, saying, 

' If that glass either break or fall. 
Farewell the luck of Eden Hall.' 
This cup is celebrated in the Duke of 
Wharton's ballad upon the remarkable 
drinking match heW at Sir Christopher 
Musgrave's. Another reading of the lines, 
said to have been left with it, is 

" Whene'er this cup shall break or fall. 
Farewell the luck of Eden Hall." 
Cumberland, i., 269. 

Lucky or Unlucky Days. — 
Bourne observes, "that among these (the- 
ancients) were lucky and unlucky days: 
some were dies airi, and some dies albi. 
The atri were pointed out in their calen- 
dar with a black character, the albi with a 
white. The former, to denote it a day 
of bad success, the latter a day of good. 
Thus have the monks, in the dark un- 
learned ages of Popery, copy'd after the 
heathens, and dream'd themselves intp 
the like superstitions, esteeming one day 
more successful than another." He tells 
us, also that St. Austin, upon the passage 
of St. Paul to the Galatians against ob- 
serving daySj and months, and times, and 
years, explains it to have this meaning: 
"The persons the Apostle blames, are- 
those wno say, I will not set forward on 
my journey because it is the next day after 
such a time, or because the moon is so ; or 
I'll set forward, that I may have luck, be- 
cause such is just now the position of the- 
stars. I will not traffick this month, be- 
cause such a star presides, or I will because^ 
it does. I shall plant no vines this year, 
because it is leap year," &o. Antiq. Vulg^ 
ch. 18. I find an observation on the 13th 
of December in the "Romish Calendar," 
that on this day prognostications of the 
months were drawn for the whole year. 
As also, that on the day of St. Barnabas, 
and on that of St. Simon and St. Jude, a 
tempest often arises. In the " Schola 
Curiositatis," ii., 236, we read: " Multi 
nolunt opus inchoare die Martis tanquam 
infausto die." In the Calendar prefixed 
to Grafton's " Abridgment," 1565, the un- 
lucky days, according to the opinion of the 
astronomers, are noted, which I have ex- 
tracted as follows: "January 1, 2, 4, 5, 
10, 15, 17, 29, very unlucky. February 
26, 27, 28, unlucky; 8, 10, 17, very un- 
lucky. March 16, 17, 20, very unlucky. 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



375 



April 7, 8, 10, 20, unlucky; 16, 21, very 
unlucky. May, 3, 6, unlucky; 7, 15, 20, 
very unlucky. June, 10, 22, unlucky ; 4, 

8, very unlucky. July, 15, 21, very un- 
lucky. August, 1, 29, 30, unlucky; 19, 
20, very unlucky. September 2, 4, 21, 23, 
unlucky ; 6, 7, very unlucky. October 4, 
16, 24, unlucky ; 6, very unlucky. Novem- 
ber 5, 6, 29, 30, unlucky ; 15, 20, very un- 
lucky. December 15, 22, unlucky ; 6, 7, 

9, very unlucky." In "Erra Pater," 1565, 
the unlucky days vary from these of Graf- 
ton. 

At the end of an old MS. mentioned 
in the Buke de la Valliere's Catalogue, i. 
44 (Add.), there is part of a Calendar in 
which the following unlucky days are 
noticed: " Januar. iiii. Non. (10th) dies 
ater et nefastus. viii. Id. (25th) dies ater 
et nefastus. Mar. vi. Non. (10th) non est 
bonum nugere (q. nubere?) Jan. iiii. Kal. 
(2ud) dies ater." Some days, however, 
are commonly deemed unlucky : among 
others, Friday labours under that oppro- 
brium ; and it is pretty generally held that 
no new work of enterprise should com- 
mence on that day. Likewise, respecting 
the weather there is this proverb : 

-"Friday's moon. 



Come when it will, it comes too soon." 

It is yet accounted unlucky to be 
married on a Friday or on the 13th of 
the mouth, the latter having the same 
sinister significance as the presence of 
thirteen at table. 

A respectable merchant of the city of 
London informed Mr. Brand about 1790 
that no person there will begin any busi- 
ness on a Friday, and this is yet a common 
superstition. Sailors do not like starting 
on a voyage on that day. Moryson, in his 
"Itinerary," 1617, speaking of the King 
of Poland at the port of Dantzic in 1593, 
says : " The next day the king had a good 
wind^ but before this (as those of the 
Romish religion are very superstitious), 
the king and the queen (being of the house 
of Austria), while sometimes they thought 
Monday, sometimes Friday, to be unlucky 
days, had lost many fair winds." The 
Spaniards hold Friday to be a very un- 
lucky day, and never undertake anything 
of consequence upon it. " Voyage en Es- 
pagne par le Marquis de Langle," tom. ii. 
p. 36. Brockett, in his " North Country 
Glossary," 184, has noticed that Buchanan 
in the 6th volume of the " Asiatic Re- 
searches," points out that the Burmese 
held this superstition respecting the in- 
auspicious character of Friday as well as 
ourselves. Among the Finns whoever un- 
dertakes any business on a Monday or Fri- 
day must expect very little success. Tooke's 
"Russia," vol. i., p. 47. And yet from 



the following extract, it should seem to 
appear that Friday is elsewhere considered 
in a diiferent light : "On Friday th© 
28th of Zkand, his Majesty (Aureng- 
zebe) performed his morning devotions 
in company with his attendants : after 
which, as was frequently his custom, he 
exclaimed, ' O that my death may happen 
on a Friday, for blessed is he who dieth on 
that day.' " 

It was considered improper to par- 
take of goose, to be let blood, or to 
take any medicinal draught, on three par- 
ticular Mondays in the year, if the days 
in question fell on a Monday, viz., March 
22, August 20, and the last Monday in 
December. The " Schola Salernitana " 
adds, that the first of May, and the last 
of April and September were also 
considered unsuitable for phlebotomy, 
and for the use of goose as a 
diet. The "Schola" does not support 
the opinion. In some verses in a manu- 
script at Cambridge it is said that if the 
anniversary of Christ's birth falls on a 
Sunday, there will be a good winter, but 
heavy winds ; the summer dry and fair, 
with plenty of sheep and bees, but scarcity 
of other victual. There will be peace in 
the land, but 

' ' Who so stelyth oght schalbe takyn 

sone, 
And what chyld on that day boorn be. 
Off gret worschyp schall ho be." 

— Hazlitt's Popular Poetry, ii., 2. Lord 
Burghley, in his Precepts, 1636, p. 36, 
expresses himself thus: " Though I think 
no day amisse to undertake any good en- 
terprize or businesse in hande, yet have 
I observed some, and no meane clerkes, 
very cautionarie to forbeare these three 
Mundayes in the yeare, which I leave ta 
thine owno consideration, either to use- 
or refuse, viz. 1. The first Munday in 
April, which day Caine was born, and his 
brother Abel slain. 2. The second Mun- 
day in August, which day Sodome and Go- 
morrah were destroyed. 3. The last Mun- 
day in December, which day Judas was 
born, that betrayed our Saviour Christ." 
Grose tells us that many persons have cer- 
tain days of the week and month on 
which they are particularly fortunate, and 
others in which they are as generally un- 
lucky. These days are different to differ- 
ent persons. Aubrey has given sev- 
eral instances of both in divers persons. 
Thursday was noted as a fatal day to King 
Henry VIII. and his posterity. Stow's 
Annals, 1631, p. 812. September 3 was 
more than once an auspicious day to the 
Protector Cromwell, and on that day, too, 
he died. Newton enquires under " sinnes 
externall and outward" against the first 
commandment, " whether, for the procur- 



376 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



ing of anything good or bad, thou hast 
used any uulawfull meanes, or superstiti- 
ous and damnable helps. Of which sort 
bee the observation and choise of dayes, 
of planetarie houres, of motions and 
courses of starres, mumbling of prophane 
praiers, consisting of words both strange 
and senselesse, adjurations, sacrifices, 
consecrations, and hallowings of divers 
thinges, rytes and ceremonies unknowne 
to the Church of God, toyish characters 
and figures, demanding of questions and 
aunsweares of the dead, dealing with 
damned spirits, or with any instrument 
of phanaticall divination, as basons, rings, 
cristalls, glasses, roddes, prickes, numbers, 
dreames, lots, fortune tellings, oracles, 
soothsayings, noroscoping, or marking the 
houres of nativites, witchcraftes, en- 
chauntments, and all such superstitious 
trumperie : — the enclosing or binding 
of spirits to certain instruments, 
and such like devises of Sathan the 
Devill." Under the same head he 
asks,' "Whether the apothecarie have 
superstitiously observed or fondly stayed 
for choise dayes or houres, or any other 
ceremonious rites in gathering his herbs 
and other simples for the making of drougs 
and receipts. Tryall of a Man's own 

Self, 1586, p. 44. 

The following passage on this subject is 
taken from Melton's " Astrologaster," 
1620 : " Those observers of time are to be 
laught at that will not goe out of their 
house before they have had counsell of 
their almanacke, and will rather have the 
house fall on their heads than stirre if 
they note some natural efi^ect about the 
motion of the aire, which they suppose 
will varie the lucky blasts of the starres, 
that will not marry, nor trafiique, or doe 
the like, but under some constellation. 
These, sure, are no Christians : because 
faithfull men ought not to doubt that the 
Divine Providence from any part of the 
world, or from any time whatsoever, is 
absent. Therefore we should not impute 
any secular businesse to the power of the 
starres, but to know that all things are 
disposed by the arbitrement of the King of 
Kings. The Christian faith is violated 
when, so like a pagan and apostate, any 
man doth observe those days which are 
called .(Egyptiaci, or the calends of Janu- 
arie, or any moneth, or day, or time, or 
yeere, eyther to travell, marry, or to doe 
any thing in." Mason enumerates among 
the superstitious of his age " Regarders of 
times, as they are which will have one 
time more lucky then another : to be borne 
at one hower more unfortunate then at 
another : to take a journey or any 
other enterprize in hand, to be more dan- 
gerous or prosperous at one time then at 
another : as likewise if such a festival day 



fall upon such a day of the weeke, or such 
like, we shall have such a yeare follow- 
ing ! and many other such like 
vaine speculations, set downe by our 
astrologians, having neither footing 
in God's word, nor yet natural reason to 
support them; but being grounded onely 
upon the superstitious imagination pi 
man's braine." Anatomie of Sorcme, 
1612, p. 25. Lodge, in his ''Wits Mise- 
rie," 1596, p. 12, glances as follows at the 
superstitious observer of lucky and un- 
lucky times : " He will not eat his dinner 
before he hath lookt in his almanacke." 
Hall, in his " Characters," 1608, speaking 
of the superstitious man, observes : If 
his journey began unawares on the dismal 
day, he feares a mischiefe." This indi- 
vidual would only go to sea on a Sunday. 
A good deal of additional information on 
this subject is to be found in John Gib- 
bon's Bay Fatality, 1678 and 1686, and 
in Aubrey's Miscellanies, 1696, 1721, 1857. 
Lucky and Unlucky Days in 
Scotland. — The Minister of Logierait, 
in Perthshire, says : "In this parish, and 
in the neighbourhood, a variety of super- 
stitious practices still (1793) prevail among 
the vulgar, which may be in part the re- 
mains of ancient idolatory, or of the cor- 
rupted Christianity of the Romish Church, 
and partly, perhaps, the result of the 
natural hopes and fears of the human 
mind in a state of simplicity and ignor- 
ance. Lucky and unlucky days are by 
many anxiously observed. That day of 
the week upon which the 14th of May hap- 

f)ens to fall, for instance, is esteemed un- 
ucky through all the remainder of the 
year ; none marry or begin any business 
upon it. None chuse to marry in Janu- 
ary or May ; or to have their banns pro- 
claimed in the end of one quarter of the 
year, and to marry in the beginning of 
the next. Some things are to be done be- 
fore the full moon ; other after. In fevers 
the illness is expected to be more severe 
on Sunday than on the other days of the 
week ; if easier on Sunday, a relapse is 
feared," v. 80. The minister of Kirkwall 
and St. Ola, Orkney, remarks : " In many 
days of the year they will neither go to 
sea in search of fish, nor perform any 
sort of work at home," vii., 560. Again, 
we are told : ' ' There are few superstitious 
usages among them. No gentleman, how- 
ever, of the name of Sinclair, either in 
Canisbay, or throughout Caithness, will 
put on green apparel, or think of cross- 
ing the Ord upon a Monday. They were 
dressed in green, and they crossed the 
Ord upon a Monday, in their way to the 
Battle of Flodden, where they fought and 
fell in the service of their country, almost 
without leaving a representative of their 
name behind them. The day and the 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



377 



dress are accordingly regarded as inaus- 
picious. If the Ord must be got beyond 
on Monday, the journey is performed by 
«ea," viii., 156, xv., 541. "There are 
happy and unhappy days for beginning 
any undertaking. Thus few would choose 
to be married here on Friday, though it is 
the ordinary day in other quarters of the 
■Church." Ibid. vol. xv. p. 258. Parish 
of Monzie, Perth: "The inhabitants are 
•stated to be not entirely free from super- 
stition. Liicky and unlucky days are 
still attended to, especially about the end 
-and beginning of the year. No person 
will be proclaimed for marriage in the 
•end of one year, or even quarter of the 
year, and be married in the beginning of 
■the next." Ibid. vol. xxi. p. 148. "Lucky 
and unlucky days, dreams, and omens, are 
■still too much observed by the country 
'people." Barnabe Googe thus translates 
the remarks of Naogeorgus on this sub- 
ject: 

" And iirst, betwixt the dayes they make 
no little difference, 

For all be not of vertue like, nor like 
preheminence. 

But some of them Egyptian are, and 
full of jeopardee, 

And some againe, beside the rest, both 
good and luckie bee. 

Like diffrence of the nights they make, 
as if the Almightie King, 

That made them all, not gracious were 
to them in every thing." 
— Popish Kingdom, 1570, p. 42. 

" Sed et circa dies injecta est animis re- 
ligio. Inde dies nefasti, qui AirocfipaStS 
■Grsecis, quibus iter aut aliquid alicujus 
raomenti indipisci, periculosum existima- 
tur." — " De quibus diebus faustis aut in- 
faustis, multa, Hesiodus 'Rjj.ipaiS et Vir- 
•gilius prime Georgicon. Quam scrupulo- 
sam superstitione'm, sese illigantem delira 
formidme, damnat Apostolus ad Galatas, 
4 : — ' Observatis dies, et menses, et tem- 
pera, et annos ; metuo ne incassum circa 
vos me fatigaverim.' " Pet. Molinsei Vates, 
p. 155. The modern Greeks view Tuesday 
in an inauspicious light. See on this sub- 
ject, Selden " De Jure Nat. Gen." lib. 
•iii. cap. 17, et Alexand. ab Alexandre 
"Genial. Dier." lib. iv. u. 20. Comp. 
Perilous Days. 

Lucy, St.— See Nares, 1859, in v. 

Lus and a Bite. — A boy's game 
played with apples. See Halliwell in v. 

Luke's Day, St. — In Chapman's 
Monsieur D' Olive, 1606, sign. F 4, 
verso, D'Olive says: "As St. Valen- 
tine's Day is fortunate to choose louers, 
St. Luke's to choose husbands, so shall 
this day be to the choosing of Lordes." 
"The author of the Mastive or Young 
Whelpe of the Olde Dogge, 1615, 



in his preface, observes: — "I'll not 
defile my hands by giuing such the 
least of chastisement, but leave them 
peremptorily for the lashing of the dogge- 
whipper for those curres provided." 
Drake tells us, that St. Luke's Day 
is known in York by the name of 
Whip - Dog Day, from a strange cus- 
tom that school - boys use here of 
whipping all the dogs that are seen in 
the streets that day. Whence this un- 
common persecution took its rise is un- 
certain : yet, though it is certainly very 
old, I am not of opinion, with some, that 
it is as ancient as the Romans. The tradi- 
tion that I have heard of its origin seems 
very probable, that in times of popery, a 
priest celebrating mass at this festival in 
some church in York, unfortunately 
dropped the Pax after consecration : 
which was snatched up suddenly and swal- 
lowed by a dog that lay under the altar 
table. The profanation of this high mys- 
tery occasioned the death of the dog, and 
a persecution began, and has since con- 
tinued, on this day, to be severely carried 
on against his whole tribe in our 
city." Eboracum, p. 219. Mr. Atkinson 
gives a somewhat different account : 
— " Dog - whipper. A parish official 
whose duties consisted in expelling any 
dog or dogs which might intrude iDto the 
church during the performance of any 
service. The office was usually joined with 
that of sexton and pew-opener. The 
short, stout dog-whip was a regular part 
of the dog-whipper's equipment. . . In 
Derby Church the office has existed down 
to the year 1861, and has become almost 
hereditary in one family. . . " But, as 
is so often the case, the usage was not con- 
fined to this country, and I remember to 
have seen an engraving in Lacroix of a 
scene in an old French church, where a 
man is engaged in whipping a dog out of 
the building. Cleveland Glossary, 1868, 
p. 145. It appears that in King Charles 
II. 's time, it was customary at Hull to 
carry home what they called the Down- 
Plat on St. Luke's Night with great for- 
mality and show. Poems, by W. C, 1684, 
p. 48. St. Luke is the patron saint of the 
Worshipful Company of Painters from his 
legendary association with that art. 
Luke's Fair, St. — See Fairs. 
Lullaby. — Dr. Rimbault, in " A 
Little Book of Songs and Ballads," 1851, 
has printed from a collection of music 
with the words, published about 1530, an 
ancient lullaby song, which commences 
with this stanza : 

" By by, lullaby, 

Rockyd I my chyld : 

In a dream late as I lay, 

Methought I heard a mayden say 

And spak these wordys mylde : 



378 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



My lityl sone with the I play, 
And ever she song by lullaby, 
Thus rookyd she hyr chyld. 
By by, lullaby, 
Rockid I my child, by by." 

But there is an earlier production of the 
same class in a MS. on paper before me of 
the first half of the fifteenth century which 
contains a second harmonized : 

Lullay LuUay thow lytil child slep & 

be wel style 
The kynge of blys thy fader is as it was 

his wille 
Thys other nyzt y say a syghl? a mayde 

a cradel kepe 
Lullay scho songe & seyde amonge ly 

stille my childe & slepe. 
How schold y slepe y ma not for wepe 

so sor y am by gone 
Slepe y wolde y may not for colde & 

clothys han y none 
fEor adams gult man kinde is spilde 

& that me rewyth sore 
ffor adam & eve y schal leve herS thryt- 

ty wintS & more. 

Lurch. — A reference to this may be 
found under Tichtack. 

L,ych-Way \ ^®® Lich-Gate and Way. 

Uying-ln. — Henry tells us, that 
" amongst the antient Britons, when a 
birth was attended with any difficulty, 
they put certain girdles made for that 
purpose, about the woman in labour, 
which they imagined gave immediate 
and effectual relief. Such girdles 
were kept with care, till very lately 
in many families in the Highlands 
of Scotland. They were impressed 
with several mystical figui es ; and 
the ceremony of binding them about the 
woman's waist was accompanied with 
words and gestures which shewed the 
custom to have been of great antiquity, 
and to have come originally from the 
Druids." Rist. of Britain, i., 459. Un- 
der December, 1502, in the Privy Purse 
Expenses of Elizabeth of York, there is 
this entry: " — to a monke that brought 
our Lady gyrdelle to the Queue in rewarde 
. . . vjs. viijd." — upon which the editor 
notes: "Probably one of the numerous 
relicks, with which the monasteries and 
abbeys then abounded, and which might 
have been brought to the Queen for her 
to put on when in labour, as it was a com- 
mon practice for women in this situation 
to wear blessed girdles." Comp. Belies. 
It appears that lying-in women were also 
accustomed sometimes to wrap round them 
under similar circumstances a long scroll, 
containing the Magnificat written upon 
it. In a letter to Lord Cromwell from 
Dr. Leighton, about 1537, ocurs this pas- 
sage : "I send you also Our Ladys Girdle 



of Bruton red silke, a solemn relike, sent 
to women in travail." The phrase enceinte 
applied to a woman with child doubtless 
came from this source. The unusual ten- 
derness for women in childbed is pleas- 
antly illustrated by an ordinance of Henry 
v., published for the information of his 
army abroad, to the effect that any Eng- 
glish soldier found robbing a woman so 
situated should forfeit all his goods and 
hold his life at the King's mercy. 
From a MS. once in the possession 
of Peter Le Neve, Norroy, contain- 
ing an account of Ceremonies and. 
Services at the Court of Henry VII., 
the following directions to be observed at 
the lying-in of the queen appear : — 

"Item, as for the delyverance of the 
Queue, it must be knowene in what cham- 
bre she shalbe delyvered by the grace of 
God : And that chambre must be hangid, 
so that she may haue light, w"" riche arras, 
rooffe, sides, and windowes and all, ex- 
cept one windowe whereby she may haue 
light, when it plessithe hir : w* a rialle 
bedde there in : The flore must be laid w'- 
carpets over and over ; and there must be 
ordmed a faire pallet w' all the stuf long- 
inge y'to, w' a riche sparvere hanging 
ouer ; and there muste be set a cupbord 
faire coueryd w' sute of the same that the 
chambre is hangid w*. And when it ples- 
sithe the Quene to take hir chambre, she 
shalbe brought thedur w' lords and ladys 
of estat, and to be brought vnto the chap- 
elle or the chirche, and there to ressaue 
hir Godde ; and then to com into the gret 
chambre, and there to take spice & wyne- 
vnder the clothe of estat ; and that done, 
ij of the gretest estats to led hir into hyr 
chambre, where she shall be delyuerid, 
and they to take there leve of the Queue ; 
then all the ladys & gentille women to go- 
in w* hir, and no man after to come in 
to the chambre sane women ; and women 
to be incid ; al manor of officers, butlers, 
panters, sewers, and all manor officers 
shall bring y™ al manor things that them 
shall node to the gret chambre dore, and' 
the women officers to ressaue it." Antiq. 
Bepertory, 1807, i., 304-5. It is stated* 
that when the queen of King Henry VII. 
tok her chamber in order to her delivery, 
' ' the Erles of Shrewsbury and of Kente 
hyld the towelles, whan the Quene toke- 
her rightes ; and the torches were holden 
by knights. When she was comen into 
hir great chambre, she stode undre hir' 
clothe of estate : then there was ordeyned 
a voide of espices and swet wyne : that 
doone, my Lorde, the Quenes Chamber^ 
lain, in very goode wordes desired in the- 
Quenes name, the pepul there present to 
pray God to sonde hir the goode oure : and 
so she departed to her inner chambre "' 
The naming of the term Rights is eluci- 



AiMU POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



379 



dated by the following passage in the "Ex- 
amination of the Masse," (circa 1550), 
signat. B 8; " Yf the Masse and Supper 
■of y' Lord be al one thyng, the Rightes, 
the Housell, the Sacramento of Christes 
bodye and blonde, and the Supper of the 
Lord are all one thyng." From a MS. 
formerly in the collection of Herbert, 
dated 1475, I transcribe the following 
■charm, or more properly charect, to be 
bound to the thigh of a lying-in woman : 
" For woman that travelyth of chylde, 
bynd thys wryt to her thye : In nomine 
Patris ^ et Filii ^ et Spiritus Sancti tjf 
Amen, tj* Per virtu tem Domini sint medi- 
■cina mei pia crux et passio Christi. ^. 
Vulnera quinque Domini sint medicina 
mei. ^< Sancta Maria peperit Christum. »J" 
Sanct Anna peperit Mariam. t^. Sancta 
Elizabet peperit Johannem. >J<. Sancta 
Cecilia peperit Remigium. tjf. Sator 
Arepo tenet opera rotas. ^. Christus 
vincit. >J«. Christus regnat. tj*. Chris- 
tus dixit Lazare veni foras. >J<. Christus 
imperat. >J<. Christus te vocat. »J< 
Mundus te gaudet. >J<. Lex te desiderat. 
^ Deus ultionum Dominus. 4"- Deus 
preliorum Dominus libera famulam tuam 
N. >J« Dextra Domini fecit virtutem. 
a. g. 1. a. >Ji Alpha ^ et J2. >J<. Anna 
peperit Mariam, ^ Elizabet precursorem, 
>J< Maria Dominum nostrum Jesum Chris- 
tum, sine dolore et tristicia. infans 
sive vivus sive mortuus exi foras ^ Chris- 
tus te vocat ad lucem. >J«. Agyos ►J*. Agyos. 
^ Agyos. >J< Christus vincit. «|* Chris- 
tus imperat. ^ Christus regnat. >J< 
Sanctus >J< Sanctus t^ Sanctus >-J< Dominus 
Deus. 4" Christus qui es, qui eras, «J< et 
qui venturus es. >Ji Amen, bhurnon ^ 
blictaono «J< Christus Nazarenus >{« Rex 
Judeorum iili Dei (-J miserere mei (J« 
Amen." 

In Bale's Comedy of Three Laws, 1538, 
Hypocrisy is introduced mentioning the 
following charms against barrenness : 

" In Parys we have the man tell of Saynt 

Lewes, 
Which women seke moch, for helpe of 

their barrenness : 
For be it ones layed upon u wommanys 

bellye, 
She go thens with chylde, the myracles 

are seene there daylye. 
And as for Lyons, there is the length 

of our Lorde 
In a great pyller. She that will with a 

coorde 
Be fast bound to it, and take soche 

chaunce as fall. 
Shall sure have chylde, for within it is 

hoUowe all." 

Thomas Thacker, in a letter to Thomas 
Cromwell, written about 1538, refers to 
" the image of Seint Moodwyn of Burton 



upon Trent, with hir red kowe and hir 
staff, which wymen laboryng of child in 
those parties were very desirous to have 
with them to leane upon, and to walke 
with yt." It is a traditional belief among 
the Cornish fishwomen, that the use of the 
ray-fish, which is common on the north 
coast, is conducive to parturition. In 
Bonner's Injunctions at his Visitation 
from September 3rd, 1554, to October 8th, 
1555, we read : "A mydwyfe (of the dio- 
cese and jurisdiction of London) shal not 
use or exercise any witchecrafte, charmes, 
sorcerye, invocations or praiers other than 
suche as be allowable and may stand with 
the lawes and ordinances of the Catholike 
Church." In Articles to be enquired in 
the Visitacyon, 1 Eliz. 1559, the following 
occurs: "Item, whether you knowe anye 
that doe use charmeSj sorcery, enchaunt- 
mentes, invocations, circles, witchecraftes, 
south-sayinge, or any like craftes or ima- 
ginacions invented by the Devyl, and spe- 
cially in the tyme of womens travayle." 

It should seem that the expression of 
" the lady in the straw," meant to signify 
the lady who is brought to bed. is derived 
from the circumstance that all beds were 
anciently stuffed with straw, so that it is 
synonymous with saying " the lady in 
bed," or that is confined to her bed. It 
appears that even so late as King Henry 
the VIII. 's time there were directions for 
certain persons to examine every night 
the straw of the King's bed, that no dag- 
gers might be concealed therein. In 
" Plaine Percevall, the Peace-maker of 
England," 1589, we find an expression 
which strongly marks the general use of 
straw in beds during that reign : " These 
high-flying sparks will light on the heads 
of us all, and kindle in our bed-straw.'' 
In an old book of receipts we read " How 
and wherewith, the child-bed woman's bed 
ought to be furnished. A large boulster, 
made of linnen cloth, must be stuffed with 
straw, and be spread on the ground, that 
her upper part may lye higher than her 
lower ; on this the woman may lye, so 
that she may seem to lean and bow, rather 
than to lye drawing up her feet unto her 
that she receive no hurt." A Eich Closet 
of Physical Secrets, p. 9. In the old Her- 
bals we find descriptions of a herb entitled 
"The Ladies Bed-Straw." Pecock, in 
his " Repressor of Over-much Blaming of 
the Clergy," observes: "Sum other vn- 
trewe opinioun of men is . . . that iij 
sistris (whiche ben spirits) comen to the 
cr.idilis of infantis, for to sette to the babe 
what sehal bifalle to him." These are, of 
course, the Three Weird Sisters, or Parcse. 

It is related that when Mary, Queen of 
Scots was lying in, the Countess of Athole, 
who was supposed to have magical powers, 
was at the same place in a similar situa- 



380 



NATIONAL FAnH:^ 



tion ; and it is stated by someone who was 
at Edinburgh Castle at the time that Lady 
Athole oast the pains of her own childbirth 
on the lady who was attending on the 
Queen. Chambers remarks: "It was a 
prevalent belief of that age, that the pains 
of parturition could be transferred by 
supernatural art ; and not merely to an- 
other woman, but to a man or to one of the 
lowest animals. Amongst the charges 
against an enchantress of the upper ranks 
called Eupham McCalyeau, twenty-five 
years after this time, is one to the effect 
that, for relief of her pain at the time of 
the birth of her own sons, she had had a 
bored stone laid under her pillow, and en- 
chanted powder rolled up in her hair, 
likewise " your guidman's sark taen air 
him, and laid whomplit under your bed- 
feet : the whilk being practisit, your sick- 
ness was oasten aff you unnaturally upon 
ane dog, whilk ran away, and was never 
seen again." Dom. Annals, i., 39. 

It was stated (1877) in the Daily News, 
that the practice was known at Berne 
in Switzerland, of the husband lying down 
in the wife's stead ; and it is also still be- 
lieved that a pregnant woman may be ex- 
empt from suiiering or pain, if her husband 
bears it by proxy. This same strange illu- 
sion is said to prevail among the Chinese. 

Pennant informs us that the Highland 
midwives gave new-born babes a small 
spoonful of earth and whisky, as the first 
food they take. Gough's Camden, iii., 658, 
It is considered lucky for the mother be- 
fore she goes downstairs after her confine- 
ment, to ascend one step, and back ; and I 
believe that it is considered sufficient by 
the learned, if the lady lifts her foot, and 
lays it for a moment on a stool or any 
other similar object. In "Seven Dia- 
logues" (from Erasmus), by W. Burton, 
1606, in that of the woman in child-bed 
occurs the following passage: " Eut. By 
ohaunce I (passing by these houses) sawe 
the crowe, or the ring of the dore bound 
about with a white linnen cloth, and I 
marvelled what the reason of it should 
be. Fab. Are you such a stranger in this 
couutrey that you doe not know the reason 
of thatp doe you not knowe that it is a 
signe that there is a woman lying in where 
that is?" So, in A Voyage to Holland 
hy an English. Gentleman, 1691 : "Where 
the woman lies in the ringle of the door 
does peunance, and is lapped about with 
linnen, either to shew you that loud knock- 
ing may wake the child, or else that for a 
month the ring is not to be run at : but if 
the child be dead there is thrust out a 
nosegay tied to a stick's end ; perhaps for 
an emblem of the life of man, which may 
wither as soon as born ; or else let you 
know, that though these fade upon their 1 
gathering, yet from the same stock the ' 



next year a new shoot may spring." Bar- 
tholinus informs us that the Dan- 
ish women, before they put the 
new - born infant into the cradle, 
place there or over the door as 
amulets, to prevent the evil spirit from 
hurting the child, garlick, salt, bread, 
and steel, or some cutting instrument 
made of that metal. Century of Bare 
Anatomical Histories, p. 19. Compare 
Children. 

lyiab, Queen. — Shakespear's por- 
trait of Queen Mab must not be omitted 
here. He puts it into the mouth of Mer- 
cutio, in "Romeo and Juliet," 1597: 

"She is the fairies' midwife; and she 

comes 
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone 
On the fore-finger of an alderman, 
Drawn with a team of little atomies 
Athwart men's noses as they lie asleep : 
Her waggon-spokes made of long spin- 
ners' legs ; 
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers; 
Her traces, of the smallest spider's web ,■ 
Her collars, of the moonshine's wat'ry 

beams ; 
Her whip, of cricket's bone ; the lash, of 

film : 
Her waggoner, a small grey-coated gnat. 
Not half so big as a round little worm 
Prick'd from the lazy iinger of a maid : 
Her chariot is an empty hazelnut, 
Made by the joiner squirrel, or old grub, 
Time out of mind the Fairies' coach- 
makers. 
And ill this state she gallops night by 

night 
Through lovers' brains, and then they 

dream of love : 
On courtiers' knees, that dream on 

court' sies straight : 
O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight 

dream on fees : 
O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses 

dream ; 
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters 

plagues, 
Because their breaths with sweet-jneats 

tainted are. 
Sometimes she gallops o'er a courtier's 

nose, 
And then dreams he of smelling out a 

suit : 
And sometimes comes she with a tithe- 
pig's tail. 
Tickling a parson's nose as 'a lies asleep, 
Then dreams he of another benefice : 
Sometimes she driveth o'er a soldier's 

neck, 
And then he dreams of cutting foreign 

throats, 
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish 

blades, 
Of healths five fathoms deep ; and then 
anon 



Al>JD POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



381 



Drums in his ear; at which he starts, 

and wakes ; 
And, being thus frighted, swears a 

prayer or two, 
And sleeps again." 

Mace Monday. — (July 26). A 
feast of bacon and beans is held on this 
day in Newbury in Berks, and elsewhere. 
It is mentioned in the " Devonshire Dia- 
logue," 1839. A cabbage stuck on a pole 
serves as a substitute for a mace, and all 
the other emblems of civic grandeur are 
similarly parodied. 

Machann. — An Irish game of cards. 

Madron or Madern, St., Well 
of, Cornw/all. — This well is reputed to 
possess medicinal properties of a very high 
order, and its fame is of considerable an- 
tiquity. The most celebrated cure re- 
corded in connection with it is, doubtless, 
that of the cripple, John Trelille, which is 
narrated by Bishop Hall in his treatise 
"On the Invisible World," and again 
(from a contemporary writer) in the ' 'Cor- 
nish Magazine ' for 1828. The latter ac- 
count the late Mr. Couch, of Bodmin, 
sent to the " Journal of the Royal Insti- 
tution of Cornwall " in 1864, where it is 
printed : "I will relate one miracle more 
done in our own country, to the great won- 
der of the inhabitants, but a few years 
ago, viz. : about the year 1640. The pro- 
cess of the business was told the King 
when at Oxford, which he caused to be 
further examined. It was this : — A cer- 
tain boy, of twelve years of age, called 
John Trelille, on the coast of Cornwall, 
not far from the Laud's End, as they were 
playing at foot-ball, snatching up the ball, 
ran away with it ; whereupon a girl, in 
anger, struck him with a thick stick on 
the backbone, and so bruised or broke it 
that for sixteen years after he was forced 
to go creeping on the ground. In this 
conditon he arrived to the twenty-eighth 
year of his age, when he dreamed that if 
he did but bathe in St. Madern' s Well, or 
in the stream running from it, he should 
recover his former strength and health. 
This is a place in Cornwall frequented at 
this time by many on the Thursday in 
May ; near to which Well is a chapel dedi- 
cated to St. Madern, where is yet an altar, 
and right against it a grassy hillock, 
(made every year anew by the country 
people), which they call St. Madern's Bed. 
The chapel roof is quite decayed ; but a 
kind of thorn, of itself shooting forth out 
of the old walls, so extends its boughs that 
it covers the whole chapel, and supplies, 
as it were, a roof. On Thursday in May, 
assisted by one Perriman, his neighbour, 
entertaining great hopes from his dream, 
thither he went, and, laying before the 
altar, and praying very fervently that he 



might regain his health and the strength 
of his limbs, he washed his whole body in 
the stream that flowed from the well, and 
ran through the chapel. After which,, 
having slept about one hour and a half iu' 
St. Madern's Bed, through the extremity 
of pain he felt in his nerves and arteries,- 
he Degan to cry out, and, his companions 
helping and lifting him up, he perceived 
his limbs and joints somewhat expanded, 
and himself become stronger, insomuch 
that, partly with his feet, partly with his 
hands, he went more erect than before. 
Before the following Thursday he got two 
crutches, resting on which he would make 
a shift to walk, which before he could not 
do ; and, coming to the chapel as before,, 
after having bathed himself, he slept on 
the same bed, and awaking, found him- 
self much stronger and more upright ; 
and so, leaving one crutch in the chapel,, 
he went home with the other. The third 
Thursday, he returned to the chapel, and 
bathed as before, slept, and when he awoke 
rose up quite curedT; yea, grew so strong, 
that he wrought day-labour among other 
hired servants ; and, four years after, en- 
listed himself a soldier in the King's army, 
where he behaved himself with much stout- 
ness both of mind and body ; at length in 
1644 he was slain at Lyme in Dorsetshire." 
B. P. Francisci Convent : Paralip, Phi- 
Jos., iv., 48. A letter dated Penzance,, 
May 17, 1819, was communicated to " Cur- 
rent Notes " for February, 1856 ; it con- 
tains some information on this subject, 
which appeared to be worth quoting. "In 
Cornwall," says the writer, "there are- 
several wells, which bear the name of some 
patron saint, who appears to have had a 
chapel consecrated to him, or her, on the 
spot. These chapels probably were simply 
oratories, but in the parish of Maddern 
(now called Madron) is a well called 'Mad- 
dern Well,' inclosed in a complete Bap- 
tistery : the walls, seats, doorway, and 
altar of which still remain. ... 1 was 
surprised at being informed that the 
superstitious of the neighbourhood attend 
on the first Thursday in May to consult 
this oracle by dropping pins, &c. Why 
on the Thursday? May not this be some 
vestige of the day on which the baptiste- 
ries were opened after being kept closed 
and sealed during Lent, which was Maun- 
dy Thursday ? My informant told me that 
Thursday was the particular day of the- 
week, though some came on the second and 
third Thursday. May was the first month 
after Easter, when the waters had been 
especially blessed : for then was the great 
time of baptism." 

Magrdalen Colleg'e, Oxford.— 
On St. John's Day, in the quadrangle, 
where the Yeoman's open-air pulpit is 
found, rushes, grass, and green boughs, , 



382 



NATIONAL FAlTHii 



are spread about, and a sermon delivered 
to the audience assembled, the accessories 
mentioned being supposed (oddly enough) 
to be significant of the Baptist's sojourn 
in the Wilderness. In 1501, Henry VII. 
taving given the advowsons of Slimbridge, 
CO. Gloucester, and Fyndon, co. Sussex, to 
this College, with an acre of land in each 
parish, a service was annually performed 
on Trinity Sunday in honour of the royal 
benefactor, and after the King s death a 
service or requiem. At present the choris- 
ters and other members of the College and 
their friends assemble at or about halt- 
past four on May-Day morning at the top 
.of Magdalen Tower, erected m 1492, and, 
seated with their faces toward the East, 
the choir sings, on the stroke of five, a 
Latin hymn in honour of the Trinity. A 
considerable crowd usually gathers on the 
bridge adjacent, and the voices on the 
tower may, it is said, be sometimes heard 
at two miles' distance. At the conclusion 
of this part of the ceremony, all heads are 
.covered^ again and the belfry rings out 
a peal in celebration of the anniversary, 
while the boys blow on tin horns. The 
hymn has been attributed to Benjamin 
Rogers in the time of Charles II., and ap- 
pears formerly to have been used at Mag- 
dalen daily as an after-grace. The rents 
arising from the property above-men- 
tioned were originally divided among the 
fellows ; but the money is now applied 
to the provision of an entertainment for 
the choir. The present writer attended 
the observance in 1901, and was sensible 
of the oscillation of the great tower. 

Ma,g;ic. — Moresin afiirms that the 
ancients, who believed in spells and other 
magical influences, were surpassed far by 
the Roman Catholics, who held that God 
himself was to be reached by incantations 
and exorcisms, so that it was impossible 
that anything, the most secret thoughts of 
the human heart, could be kept from dis- 
covery- Papatus, 1594, p. 7. Avicenna, 
to prove that there are charms, affirms 
that all material substances are subject to 
the human soul ; but another writer more 
judiciously observes that when the minds 
of men are haunted with dreams of 
charms and enchantments, they are apt 
to fancy that the most common occur- 
rences in nature are the effects of magical 
art. Some very interesting information 
on this subject will be found in the learned 
Preface by Mr. Richard Price to Warton's 
" History of Poetry," 1871 ; it .seemed to 
be scarcely worth while, or even desirable 
to transplant it hither. 

In the City of London Records under 
1382 there is a case of a cobbler, 
who pretended to have the power of 
■discovery in charges of theft, where a 



certain Paris kerchief had been stolen 
from a married woman, named Alice 
Trigg This fellow, William Norhampton, 
also foretold that Alice would within a 
month be drowned, and so terrified her 
that she was on the point of death, tor he 
happened to be in possession ot certain 
particulars of her private concerns, and 
thus made her credit his supernatural in- 
sight. It was acknowledged by him, on 
being charged with the matter, that he 
knew nothing about it, or about magical 
arts, and had acted deceitfully, and he 
was sentenced to the pillory. Riley s 
Memorials, 1868, p. 475-6. In the same 
year a similar offence was committed by 
one Robert Berewold, who undertook by 
certain means to reveal the person, who 
had purloined a cup from Matilda de Eye. 
He thereupon took a loaf, and fixed in the 
top of it a round peg of wood, and four 
knives at the four sides, cruciformly, and 
then pronounced magical incantation over 
"it. Which, when he had finished, he de- 
clared Johanna Wolsy the culprit. The 
accusation being proved false, the said 
Berewold was condemned to stand in the 
pillory with the loaf, and the peg and 
knives, hung round his neck. Ibid. 
472-3. In the Life of Montaigne, by Bayle 
St. John, 1858, we hear of a magician, 
who proposed to render the dresses and 
under-garments of the ladies about the 
Court transparent for the benefit of Fran- 
cis I. and his friends ; but we do not know 
whether the scheme was adopted or proved 
successful. In any case the account sug- 
gests an anticipation of the system of rays, 
by which science now penetrates all sorts 
of interiors from a man's stomach to his 
portmanteau. Comp. Sorcery, Witchcraft, 
&c. 

Magrpie. — Magot-pie is the original 
name of the bird ; magot being the fami- 
liar appellation given to pies, as we say 
Robin to a red-breast, Tom to a titmouse, 
Philip to a sparrow, &o. The modern 
mag is the abbreviation of the ancient 
magot, a word which we had from the 
French. But it has also been supposed 
that mag is a short form of Margaret or 
Margery, as we speak of Jack-Daw. 

" Skata, Pica. Quum illius pluriraus 
in Auguriis usus fuerit, v. Plinii ' Hist. 
Nat.' lib. X. 18, interque aves sinisterioris 
Ominis semper locum invenerit, undo eti- 
am videmus, veteris Superstitionis tena- 
cem plebem nostram volucrem banc Stabu- 
lorum portis expansis alls suspendere, ut, 
quod ait Apuleius, suo corpore luat illud 
Infortunium quod aliis portendit : hiiic 
arbitror a scada nocere, A.S. scathian 
nomen illi inditum fuisse. Vocatur alias 
Skjura, forte a garritu, ut etiam Latina 
Garrulus nuncupabatur." — Ihre. Such 
is the opinion of the common people in 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



383 



Sweden. Shakespear says in Macbeth, 
iii., 4 : — - 

" Augurs, and understood relations, 

have 
By magot-pies and choughs and rooks 

brought forth 
The secret'st man of blood." 

on which Steevens observes: — "In Cot- 
grave's Dictionary a magpie is called Mag- 
atapie. In the "Night Raven," by S. 
Rowlands, 1620, we have : 

' I neither tattle with Jack Daw 

Or maggot-pye on thach'd house straw." 

The form magatipie is still found in the 
West of England. Scot says that to prog- 
nosticate that guests approach to your 
house, upon the chattering of pies or hag- 
gisters, (haggister in Kent signifies a mag- 
pie) is altogether vanity and supersti- 
tion. Discovery, ed. 1665, p. 95. Gaule 
almost repeats this observation. Home, 
in his " Dsemonologie," 1650, speaking 
of popular superstitions, page 59, tells us : 
" By the chattering of magpies, they know 
they shall have strangers." 

Ross tells us that, in the time 
of Charles VIII. of France, the battle 
fought between the French and Bretons, 
in which the latter were overthrown, 
was foreshewed by a skirmish between 
magpies and Jack Daws. App. to 
Arcana Microcosmi, p. 219. The chat- 
tering of a magpie is ranked by 
Bourne among omens. Antiq. Vulg., p. 
71. It is very observable that, according 
to Lambarde, Bditha persuaded her hus- 
band to build a monastery at Oseney near 
Oxford, upon such a prognostication. 
Topographical Dictionary, p. 260. It 
is unlucky, says Grose, to see first one 
magpie, and then more, but to see two, 
denotes marriage or merriment ; three, a 
successful journey ; four, an unexpected 
piece of good news ; five, you will shortly 
be in a great company. The bad omen 
is thought to be averted by turning thrice 
round or by spitting three times. In 1865, 
a gentleman on horseback saw a magpie, 
and took no notice. Presently after he 
was thrown. He said he would never for- 
get again to spit at a magpie. In Lanca- 
shire it is accounted very unlucky to see 
two magpies (called there pynots ; in 
Northumberland, pyanots) together ; thus 
Tim Bobbin says: "I saigh two rott'n 
Pynots (hongum) that wur a sign o bad 
fashin : for I heard my Gronny say hoode 
OS leef o seen two owd Harries (devils) os 
two pynots." Lancashire Dialect, 1775, 
p. 31. In Lincolnshire the superstition 
as to number also prevails. See Hazlitt's 
Proverhs, 1882, p. 321. 

Maiden Feast. — In the " Statisti- 
cal Account of Scotland," we read, "It 



was in the last century, the custom to give 
what was called a Maiden Feast, upon the 
finishing of the harvest : and to prepare 
for which, the last handful of corn reaped 
in the field was called the Corn Lady or 
Maiden. This was generally contrived to 
fall into the hands of one of the finest 
girls in the field, and was dressed up with 
ribbands, and brought home in triumph 
with the music of fiddles or bagpipes. A 
good dinner was given to the whole band, 
and the evening spent in joviality and 
dancing, while the fortunate lass who took 
the Maiden was the Queen of the Feast ; 
after which this handful of corn was 
dressed out generally in the form of a 
cross, and hung up with the date of the 
year in some conspicuous part of the house. 
This custom is now entirely done away, 
and in its room each shearer is given 6d. 
and a loaf of bread. However, some 
farmers, when all their corns are brought 
in, give their servants a dinner and a 
jovial evening, by way of harvest-home." 
xix., 550, par. of Lansforgan, co. Perth. 

Maid Marian. — ToUett thus de- 
scribes Maid Marian, who, as Queen of 
May, has a golden crown on her head, and 
in her left hand a red pink, as emblem of 
Summer. Her vesture was once fashion- 
able in the highest degree. Margaret, the 
eldest daughter of Henry the Seventh, was 
married to James King of Scotland with 
the crown upon her head and her hair 
hanging down. Betwixt the crown and 
the hair was a very rich coif, hanging 
down behind the whole length of the body. 
This simple example sufficiently explains 
the dress of Marian's head. Her coif is 
purple, her surcoat blue, her cufi^s white, 
the skirts of her robe yellow, the sleeves 
of a carnation colour, and her stomacher 
red, with a yellow lace in cross-bars. In 
Shakespear's "Henry the Eighth," Anne 
Boleyn, at her coronation, is in her hair, 
or as HoUingshed put it, her hair hanged 
down, but on her head she had a coif, with 
a circlet about it full of rich stones. In 
the Marriage of Joseph and the Virgin, a 
painting formerly at Strawberry Hill, and 
now in the possession of his Grace the 
Duke of Buccleuch, Mary is represented 
with her hair hanging down exactly in the 
same manner, and with a coronet on her 
head, the latter feature common to the 
early Bavarian and other coins, where the 
Virgin appears as part of the type. This 
costume may help to fix the date of the 
picture, which Walpole erroneously sup- 
posed to represent the nuptials of Henry 
YI.—Anecd. of Painting, ed. 1862, p. 34. 
Maid Marian, "the Lord Fitzwater's 
Daughter " of the Poets, is mentioned in a 
subjoined extract from a MS. of the 15th 
centurj' : 



384 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



"At Ewle we won ten gambole, daunse, 

to carol, and to sing, 
To have gud spiced sewe, and roste, and 
At Easter Eve, pampuffes ; gangtide- 

plum pie for a king; 

gates did holie masses bring ; 
At Paske begun oure Morris, and ere 

Pentecoste oure May, 
Thro' Roben Hood, litell John, Frier 

Tuck and Mariam deftly play. 
And lord and ladie gang 'till kirk with 

lads and lasses gay ; 
Fra masse and een songe sa gud cheere 

and glee on every green. 
As save oure wakes 'twixt Eames and 

Sibbes, like gam was never seene. 
At Baptis-day, with ale and cakes, bout 

bonfires neighbours stood ; 
At Martlemas wa turn'd a crabbe, thilk 

told of Roben Hood, 
Till after long time myrke, when blest 

were windowes, dores, and lightes, 
And pailes were fild, and harthes were 

swept, gainst fairie elves and 

sprites : 
Rock and Plow Monday gams sal gang 

with saint feasts and kirk sightes." 

In Coates' " History of Reading," p. 220, 
in the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. 
Lawrence Parish, is the following entry : 
" 1531. It. for ffyve ells of canvas for a 
cote for Made Maryon, at iii. ob. the ell. 
xvij*. ob." In the old play of "Robin 
Hood," and many other dramatic per- 
formances where she happened to be intro- 
duced. Maid Marian was usually imper- 
sonated by some pretty boy of feminine 
appearance. In the " Downfal of Robert 
Earl of Huntingdon," 1601, Skelton the 
chorus exclaims: "What, our Maid 
Marian, leaping like a lad !" After the 
morris degenerated into a piece of coarse 
buffoonery, and Maid Marian was perso- 
nated by a clown, this once elegant Queen 
of May obtained the name of Malkin. To 
this Fletcher alludes in ' ' Monsieur 
Thomas" : 

" Put on the shape of order and human- 
ity, 

Or you must marry Malkyn, the May- 
lady." 

It appears by one of the extracts given in 
Lysons' " Environs," that in the reign 
of Henry VIII. at Kingston-upon-Thames, 
the character was performed by a woman 
who received a shilling each year for her 
trouble. Comp. Midsummer Ale and 
Robin Hood. 

Maid's Money — At the town-hall, 
Guildford, on January 23, 1902, two 
domestic servants threw dice to decide 
which should be the recipient of "the 
maid's money," left in 1674 by John How 
for the servant who had been upwards of 
two years in the same situation in the 



borough, and who threw the highest num- 
ber with two dice in competition with an- 
other qualified servant. Clara Howard, 
who had been in one service over eight 
years, scored the highest number, and re- 
ceived a cheque for twelve guineas. 

Making: and Marring. — See 
White and Blach. 

Mallard At All Souls' College, Ox- 
ford, on the 14th January, they used to 
have a supper, and sit up all night drink- 
ing and singing, which was known as "All 
Souls' College Mallard." The song was 
called The Mallard, and originally the fel- 
lows rambled about the College precincts 
with sticks and poles in search of the mal- 
lard. The meaning of the custom seems to 
be unknown. Hearne's Diary, Jan. 18, 
1722-3. 

Manciple. — A person employed in 
former times as a purveyor in great 
houses, in the Inns of Court, and in the 
Universities. The term is nearly forgot- 
ten. But the functionary so called is in- 
troduced by Chaucer as the narrator of 
one of his series of Tales. He tells the 
story of the Crow, when the party had 
reached Bob-up-and-Down or Harble- 
down. Comp. Nares, Gloss, in v. 

Man in the Moon. — This is one of 
the most ancient as well as one of the 
most popular superstitions. It is sup- 
posed to have originated in the account 
given in the Book of Numbers, of a man 
punished with death for gathering sticks 
on the Sabbath-day. In one of the draw- 
ings representing this extraordinary and 
familiar character, he appears as a man 
with a staff over his shoulder, on which 
he carries his fatal bundle of sticks, fol- 
lowed by a dog. It was foimerly, as it 
still remains, a common tavern-sign, and 
two or three differing portraitures of the 
renowned sabbath-breaker have been 
handed down. " History of Sign-boards," 
1867, plates 8 and 17. The vulgar 
parody on the old legend, apparent in the 
former of these engravings, may have 
something to do with the saying, which 
was so popular and well understood, "The 
Man in the Moon drinks claret." Peacock, 
in his " Repressor," enumerates among 
" vntrewe opiniouns," the one that "a 
man which stale sumtyme a birthan of 
thornis was sette into the moone, there for 
to abide for evere." In the old play of 
" Timon," act iv. sc. 3, Stilpo says : " The 
man in the moone is not in the moone 
superficially, although he bee in the 
moone (as the Greeks will haue it), cata- 
podially, specificatiuely, and quiddita- 
tiuely." In the "Midsummer Night's 
dream," Quince the carpenter, in arrang- 
ing his dramatis personae for the play 
before the Duke, directs that " One must 
come in with a bush of thorns and a Ian- 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



385 



tern, and say, he comes to disfigure, or to 
present, the person of moonshine," which 
we afterwards find done. "All that I 
have to say," concludes Moon, in act v. sc. 
i., " is, to tell you that the lantern is the 
moon ; I, the man in the moon ; this thorn 
bush, my thorn bush ; and this dog, my 
dog." And such a character appears to 
have been familiar to the olcf English 
stage. See also the Tempest, ii., 2. The 
man in the moon is thus alluded to in the 
second act of Dekker's " Honest Whore," 
1630, signat. D 2: "Thou art more than 
the moone, for thou hast neither chang- 
ing quarters, nor a man standing in thy 
circle with a bush of thornes." Mr Bar- 
ing Gould notices a representation of the 
man in the moon in Gyffin church, near 
Conway. It is in the roof of the chancel, 
where are symbols of the sun, moon, and 
stars, &c. ; and in the disk of the lunar 
orb is the man, with his bundle of sticks, 
but not his dog. The same writer draws 
attention to a deed 9 Edw. III. which 
bears a seal, with the man in the moon as 
a device, and this legend : 

" Te, Waltere, docebo 

cur spinas phebo 

gero." 

It is necessary to explain that the docu- 
ment is a deed of conveyance from Walter 
de Grendesse of Kingston-upon-Thames, 
to his mother. 

Man, Isle of.— See Manx. 

Mandrake. — The earliest references 
to the Mandragoria or Mandrake and 
its extraordinary properties is, so far as I 
know, in Genesis, respecting which Cru- 
den has a note, in the course of which he 
says : " It is reported that in the province 
of Pekin there is a kind of mandrake so 
valuable, that a pound of that root is 
worth thrice its weight in silver, for they 
■say it so wonderfully restores the sinking 
spirits of dying persons that there is often 
time for the use of other means, and there- 
by recovering them to life and health. 
Those mandrakes which Reuben brought 
home to his mother, are by some called 
violets, by others lilies or jessamins, by 
others citrons. Some reckon them to be 
such agreeable flowers of the field where- 
with children were pleased, Reuben that 
gathered them being only about five or 
six years of age." 

In his Anglo-Norman " Bestiary," 
written in the first half of the twelfth 
century, Philip de Thaun writes: "He 
(Isidore) says of the mandragore, that 
it has two roots, which have the 
make of man and woman ; the female 
root resembles woman and girl ; the female 
is leaved like a leaf of lettuce ; the male 



remains leaved as the heart is (i.e. has the 
leaves peculiar to the plant). It is gath- 
ered by a stratagem. . . . The man who is 
to gather it must fly round about it ; must 
take great care that he does not touch it ; 
then let him take a dog bound — let it be 
tied to it — which has been close tied up, 
and has fasted three days — and let it be 
shown bread, and call from afar ; the dog 
will draw it to him ; the root will break ; 
it will send forth a cry ; the dog will fall 
down dead at the cry which he will hear — 
such virtue this herb has, that no one can 
hear of it, but he must always die ; and 
if the man heard it, he would directly die 
— therefore he must stop his ears, and 
take care that he hear not the cry, lest he 
die, as the dog will do, which shall hear 
the cry. When one has this root, it is of 
great value for medicine, for it cures of 
every infirmity — except only death." 
Wright's Popular Treatises on Science, 
1841, 101-2, where a cut of a female 





MANDRAKE. 

mandrake is given. In the Anglo- 
Norman Bestiary cited just above, 
it is said that the elephant is of so 
cold a nature that the male does not seek 
the company of a female till wandering 
in the direction of Paradise, he find the 
mandrake, which has aphrodisiac virtues. 
Wright's Archceological Album, 1845, 
177-8. This idea tallies with the story of 
Rachel in the Bible. But the belief in 
the semi-human character and physiology 
of the mandrake appears to have been 
shaken at a very early date in our coun- 
try, for in the " Grete Herball," 1526, the 
idea of a herb endowed with human 
faculties and sensibilities is expressly de- 
clared to be inadmissible. A cut of a fe- 
male mandrake is here given, very similar 
to one copied by Berjeau's Bookworm, iii., 
106-7, from an old Dutch Herbal. It is 
in both cases the figure of a naked woman 



386 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



with the plant shooting into leaf and 
flower from her head. But even in some 
of the early lists the mandrake is men- 
tioned without any reference to its miracu- 
lous properties or double gender ; and 
Gerarde in his Herbal, 1597, derides the 
whole notion. 

The superstitious belief in mandrakes 
not unnaturally led to a trade in 
imitations formed of briony and other 
plants, which lent themselves to such a 
purpose. Lupton, in his "Thousand 
Notable Things," 1579, refers to this im- 

gosture, and he is followed by Sir Thomas 
rowne in his Vulgar Errors, and others. 
Even when the faith in its miraculous 
nature no longer existed, however, the 
mandragoria or mandrake was still re- 
garded as a strong narcotic, a property 
which may perhaps explain the medicinal 
virtue just imputed to it. Massinger, in 
the " Unnatural Combat," makes the 
usher say : 

" Here's music 

In this bag shall wake her, though she 

had drunk opium. 
Or eaten mandrakes — " 

Shakespear himself makes lago say of 
Othello : 

" Not poppy, nor mandragora, 

Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world. 
Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet 

sleep 
Which thou ow'dst yesterday." 

The mandrake is mentioned in the " Fly- 
ing betwixt Montgomery and Polwart," 
1629: 

"The Weird Sisters wandring, as they 

were wont then. 
Saw reavens rugand at that ratton, be 

a Ron ruit, 
They mused at the mandrake, vnmade 

lik a man ; 
A beast bund with a bonerand, in ano 

old buit." 

This is what Dekker refers to in his 
"Newes from Hell," 1606. Randolph, 
in the "Jealous Lovers," 1632, makes Dip- 
sos say to Chremylas : 

"The ravens, screech-owls, and the 

mandrakes voice 
Shall be thy constant musick." 

Nabbes, in his play of " Totenham Court," 
1638, has this passage ; it is Worthgood, 
who speaks : 

" The dismal shrieks 

Of fatall owles, and groanes of dying 

mandrakes. 
Whilst her soft palme warm'd mine, 

were musicke to me." 



"The fleshy mandrake, where it doth 

grow 
In noonshade of the mistletow, 
And where the phsenix airyes." — 
Drayton's Muses Elizium, 1630, p. 24. 

The value of the mandrake or mand- 
ragoria as a narcotic has been noted above 
in the sketch of the subject in its more 
popular aspect. But it will have been 
perceived that even some of our own 
early writers disbelieved the properties 
ascribed to it by folklore or vulgar super- 
stition. It was in fact familiar to the 
ancients and throughout the middle ages 
as a powder which, dissolved in wine or 
otherwise, assuaged pain, and produced 
temporary insensibility during surgical 
operations. Edouard Fournier, Lc Viewa;- 
Neuf, 1877, i, 86-7. 

Manna. — Peacham tells us, "There 
are many that believe and affirm the 
manna which is sold in the shoppes of our 
apothecaries, to be of the same which fell 
from Heaven, and wherewith the Israelites 
were fedde." He then proceeds to give 
reasons why this cannot be. Truth of our 
Times, 1638, p. 174. Not unlike what is 
popularly known as manna is the sweet 
gum, which is yielded by the damson and 
other trees in this country, and which ac- 
cumulates on the bark. We all remember 
the line in Virgil, where he feigns that 
when the golden age should return under 
the auspices of Asinius Gallus, among 
other prodigies, 

" durse quercus sudabunt roscida 

mella— " 

This is, of course, our mel-dew or honey- 
dew ; it drops, to a modified extent, from 
the full-leaved lime ; but in New Zealand, 
the manuka-tree exudes a resin, which 
readily clots into a hard substance, very 
agreeable to the palate, and much liked. 
See W. Browne's Works by Hazlitt, ii., 
Notes V. Mel-Dew. 

Manx Christeningfs. — Waldron, 
speaking of the Manx christenings, says : 
' ' The whole country round are invited to 
them ; and, aft«r having baptized the 
child, which they always do in the church, 
let them live ever so distant from it, they 

I return to the house, and spend the whole , 

i day, and good part of the night, feast- 

1 ing" Works, p. 170. 

! Manx Customs. — In a statistical i 
account of Campbelton, Argyleshire, in 
1794, it is said : " We read of a King of 
the Isle of Mann sending his shoes to his I 
Majesty of Dublin, requiring him to carry | 
them before his people on a high festival, | 
or expect his vengeance." This good Dub- ' 
linian King discovers a spirit of humanity 
and wisdom rarely found in better times. 
His subjects urged him not to submit to 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



387 



the indignity of bearing the Manksman's 
shoes. "I had rather," said he, "not 
only bear but eat them, than that one 
province of Ireland should bear the deso- 
lation of war." A communication 
to Notes and Queries, about 1875, 
says : " In a lately published tale, entitled 
' Green Hills by the Sea,' the scene of 
which is laid in the Isle of Man, a strange 
Manx custom is described. It appears 
that up to the year 1845, and perhaps still, 
in a capital trial the bishop and arch- 
deacon were required to appear upon the 
bench. The question put to the jury was 
not, as in England, "Guilty" or "Not 
Guilty," but " May the man of the chan- 
cel continue to sit?" The answer was a 
plain "Yes" or "No." In the latter 
case the departure of the clergy was fol- 
lowed by a sentence of death. An excel- 
lent account, almost too long for the im- 
mediate purpose, of the usages and beliefs 
of the island may be found in Glover's 
Illustrated Guide, 1866. Many of these 
local practices are analogous to those ob- 
served elsewhere at Easter, May-day, 
Midsummer, and Christmas. Particular 
a.ttoution may be directed to the Caa'l 
Breeshey, or festival in honour of St. Brid- 
get, on the 1st of February, and to the 
custom of blowing horns on the mountains 
on lao Baaldyn, or May-Day. I suppose 
that the proverbial expression current in 
the Isle of Man : 

" On Shrove Tuesday night, though the 

supper be fat, 
Before Easter day thou mayst fast for 

that "— 

arose from the improvident expenditure 
customary at this season of almost univer- 
sal jubilee. In the Isle of Man, accord- 
ing to Waldron, the month of May is 
every year ushered in with the following 
ceremony : — "In almost all the great 
parishes, they chuse from among the 
daughters of the most wealthy farmers a 
young maid for the Queen of May. She 
is drest in the gayest and best manner 
they can, and is attended by about twenty 
others, who are called maids of honour ; 
she has also a young man, who is her 
captain, and has under his command a 
good number of inferior officers. In op- 
position to her is the Queen of Winter, 
who is a man dressed in woman's clothes, 
with woollen hoods, furr tippets, and 
loaded with the warmest and heaviest 
habits one upon another : in the same 
manner are those who represent her at- 
tendants drest, nor is she without a cap- 
tain and a troop for her defence. Both 
leing equipt as proper emblems, of the 
beauty of the Spring, and the deformity 
of the Winter, they set forth from their 
respective quarters; the one preceded by 



violins and flutes, the other with the rough 
musick of the tongs and cleavers. Both 
companies march till they meet on a com- 
mon, and then their trains engage in a 
mock battle. If the Queen of Winter's 
forces get the better so far as to take the 
Queen of May prisoner, she is ransomed 
for so much as pays the expences of the 
day. After this ceremony. Winter and 
her company retire, and divert themselves 
in a barn, and the others remain on the 
green, where, having danced a consider- 
able time, they conclude the evening with 
a feast : the Queen at one table with her 
maids, the Captain with his troop at an- 
other. There are seldom less than fifty 
or sixty persons at each board, but not 
more than three knives." 

Manx Folk-Lore. — Waldron tells 
us: "On the 24th of December, toward ;= 
evening, all the servants in general have 
a holiday ; they go not to bed all night, 
but ramble about till the bells ring in all 
the churches, which is at twelve o'clock : 
prayers being over, they go to hunt the 
wren ; and, after having found one of 
these poor birds, they kill her, and lay 
her on a bier with the utmost solemnity, 
bringing her to the parish church, and 
burying her with a whimsical kind of sol- 
emnity, singing dirges over her in the 
Manx language, which they call her knell ; 
after which, Christmas begins." 

Train, in his " Historical and Statisti- 
cal Account of the Isle of Man," 1845, 
goes somewhat at large into this ancient 
custom : " Hunting the wren has been a 
pastime in the Isle of Man from time im- 
memorial. In Waldron's time it was ob- 
served on the 24th December, which I 
have adopted, though for a century past 
it has been observed on St. Stephen's Day. 
This singular ceremony was founded on a 
tradition, that in former times a fairy 
of uncommon beauty exerted such undue 
influence over the male population, that 
she, at various times, induced by her 
sweet voice numbers to follow her foot- 
steps, till by degrees she led them into 
the sea, where they perished. This bar- 
barous exercise of power had continued 
for a great length of time, till it was ap- 
prehended that the island would be ex- 
hausted of its defenders, when a knight- 
errant sprang up, who discovered some 
means of countervailing the charms used 
by this syren, and even laid a plot for hei- 
destruction, which she only escaped at 
the moment of extreme hazard, by taking 
the form of a wren. But, though she 
evaded instant annihilation, a spell was 
cast upon her by which she was condemned 
on every succeeding New Year's Day to 
reanimate the same form with the defini- 
tive sentence, that she must ultimately 
perish by human hand. In consequence 



388 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



of this well-authenticated legend, on the 
specific anniversary, every man and boy 
in the island (except those who have 
thrown off the trammels of superstition) 
devote the hours between sunrise and 
sunset to the hope of extirpating 
the fairy, and woe be to the indi- 
vidual birds of this species who 
show themselves on this fatal day to 
the active enemies of the race ; they are 
pursued, pelted, fired at, and destroyed 
without mercy, and their feathers pre- 
served with religious care, it being an 
article of belief, that every one of 
the relics gathered in this laudable pur- 
suit is an effectual preservative from ship- 
wreck for one year, and that fishermen 
would be considered as extremely fool- 
hardy, who should enter upon his occu- 
pation without such a safeguard. When 
the chase ceases, one of the little victims 
is affixed to the top of a long pole, with 
its wings extended, and carried in front 
of the hunters, who march in procession 
to every house, chanting the following 
rhyme : 

'We hunted the wren for Robbin the 

Bobbin, 
We hunted the wren for Jack of the 

Can, 
We hunted the wren for Robbin the 

Bobbin, 
We hunted the wren for every one.' 

"After making the usual circuit 
and collecting all the money they 
could obtain, they laid the wren on 
a bier, and carried it in proces- 
sion, to the parish churchyard, where, 
with a whimsical kind of solemnity, they 
made a grave, buried it, and sung dirges 
over it in the Manks language, which they 
called her knell. After the obsequies were 
performed, the company outside the 
churchyard wall formed a circle, and 
danced to music which they had provided 
for the occasion. At present there is no 
particular day for pursuing the wren ; it 
is captured by boys alone, who follow the 
old custom, principally for amusement. 
On St. Stephen's Day, a group of boys go 
from door to door with a wren suspended 
by the legs, in the centre of two hoops, 
crossing each other at right angles, deco- 
rated with evergreens and ribands, sing- 
ing lines called Hunt the Wren. If, at the 
close of this rhyme, they be fortunate 
enough to obtain a small coin, they gave in 
return a feather of the wren ; and before 
the close of the day, the little bird may 
sometimes be seen hanging almost feather- 
less. The ceremony of the interment of 
this bird in the churchyard, at the close 
of St. Stephen's Day, has long since been 
abandoned ; and the sea-shore or some 
waste ground was substituted in its 



place." A longer version of the song 
given above may be seen in HalliweU & 
Archaic Dictionary, 1860. Mr. Ditchfleld 
remarks : " Fanciful interpreters have- 
seen in the stoning of the wren a connec- 
tion with the stoning of St Stephen- 
whose martyrdom occurred on the day of 
the observance of this barbarous custom.. 
Another legend is that one of St. Ste- 
phen's guards was awakened by a bird 
lust as his prisoner was about to escape.. 
Old English Customs, 1896, p. 33. Wal- 
dron adds : " There is not a barn unoccu- 
pied the whole twelve days of Christmas, 
every parish hiring fiddlers at the publick 
charge. On Twelfth Day the fiddler lays his. 
head in some one of the wenches' laps, and 
a third person asks, who such a maid, or 
such a maid shall marry, naming the girls, 
then present one after another ; to which 
he answers according to his own whim, or 
agreeable to the intimacies he has taken 
notice of during the time of merriment.. 
But whatever he says is as absolutely de- 
pended on as an oracle ; and if he happens; 
to couple two people who have an aversion 
to each other, tears and vexation succeed 
the mirth. This they call cutting off the 
fiddler's head ; for, after this, he is dead 
for the whole year." 

"The old story of infants being 
changed in their cradles, is hero- 
in such credit, that mothers are in 
continual terror at the thoughts of it. I 
was prevailed upon my.self to go and see a 
childj who, they told me, was one of these- 
changelings, and indeed must own was. 
not a little surprized as well as shocked at 
the sight. Nothing under Heaven could 
have a more beautiful face : but tho' be- 
tween five and six years old, and seem- 
ingly healthy, he was so far from being: 
able to walk or stand that he could not 
so much as move any one joint : his limbs- 
were vastly long for his age, but smaller 
than an infant's of six months : his com- 
plexion was perfectly delicate, and he had 
the finest hair in the world : he never spoke- 
nor cryed, ate scarce anything, and was 
very seldom seen to smile; but if anyone- 
called him a fairy-elf he would frown, and 
fix his eyes so earnestlj' on those who said 
it, as if he would look them through. His; 
mother, or at least his supposed mother,, 
being very poor, frequently went out a 
charing, and left him a whole day to- 
gether : the neighbours, out of curiosity 
have often looked in at the window to see 
how he behaved when alone, which, when- 
ever they did, they were sure to find him 
laughing, and in the utmost delight. This 
made them judge that he was not without 
company more pleasing to him than any 
mortal's could be ; and what made this, 
conjecture seem the more reasonable, was, 
that if he were left ever so dirty, the 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



389 



woman, at her return , saw him with a 
clean face, and his hair combed with the 
utmost exactness and nicety." Wal- 
dron also mentions " Another woman, 
who, being great with child, and 
expecting every moment the good hour, 
as she lay awake one night in her 
bed, she saw seven or eight little 
women come into her chamber, one of 
whom had an infant in her arms. They 
w-ere followed by a man of the same size, 
in the habit of a minister." A mock 
christening ensued, and " they baptized 
the infant by the name of Joan, which 
made her known she was pregnant of a 
girl, as it proved a few days after, when 
she was delivered." 

Waldron tells us that there is in the 
Isle of Man, " The Fairies Saddle, a stone 
termed so, as I suppose, from the simili- 
tude it has of a saddle. It seems to lie 
loose on the edge of a small rock, and the 
wise natives of Man tell you, it is every 
night made use of by the fairies, but what 
kind of horses they are, on whose backs 
this is put, I could never find any of them 
who pretended to resolve me." He also 
tells us that "the Manks confidently as- 
sert that the first inhabitants of their 
islands were fairies, and that these little 
people have still their residence among 
them. They call them the good people, and 
say they live in wilds and forests, and on 
mountains, and shun great cities because 
of the wickedness acted therein. All the 
houses are blessed where they visit, for 
they fly vice. A person would be thought 
imprudently propnane, who should suffer 
his family to go to bed without having 
first set a tub, or pail full of clean water, 
for these guests to bathe themselves in, 
which the natives aver they constantly do, 
as soon as the eyes of the family are closed, 
wherever they vouchsafe to come. If any- 
thing happen to be mislaid, and found 
again, they presently tell you a fairy took 
it and returned it. If you chance to get 
a fall and hurt yourself, a fairy laid some- 
thing in your way to throw you down, as 
a punishment for some sin you have com- 
mitted." Again, we are told the fairies 
are supposed to be fond of hunting. "There 
is no persuading the inhabitants but that 
these Huntings are frequent in the island, 
and that these little gentry, being too 
proud to ride on Manks horses, which they 
might find in the field, make use of the 
English and Irish ones, which are brought 
over and kept by gentlemen. They say 
that nothing is more common than to find 
these poor beasts in a morning all over 
sweat and foam, and tired almost to death, 
when their owners believe they have never 
been out of the stable. A gentleman of 
Balla-fletcher assured me he had three or 
four of his best horses killed with these 



nocturnal journeys." Descr. of the Isle 
of Man, "Works, p. 136. 

" The natives tell you, that, before 
any person dies, the procession of 
the funeral is acted by a sort of 
beings, which for that end render them- 
selves visible. I know several that have 
offered to make oath, that, as they have 
been passing the road, one of these fune- 
rals has come behind them, and even laid 
the bier on their shoulders, as tho' to as- 
sist the bearers. One person, who assured 
me he had been served so, told me that the 
flesh of liis shoulder had been very much 
bruised, and was black for many weeks 
after. There are few or none of them 
who pretend not to have seen or heard 
these imaginary obsequies, (for I must not 
omit that they sing psalms in the same 
manner as those do who accompany the 
corpse of a dead friend), which so little 
difler from real ones, that they are not to 
be known till both coffin and mourners are 
seen to vanish at the church doors. These 
they take to be a sort of friendly demons ; 
and their business, they say, is to warn 
people of what is to befall them : accord- 
ingl3', they give notice of any stranger's 
approach, by the trampling of horses at 
the gate of the house where they are to 
arrive." " As to circles in the grass, and 
the impression of small feet among the 
snow, 1 cannot deny but I have seen them 
frequently, and once I thought I heard a 
whistle as tho' in my ear, when nobody 
that could make it was near me." 

Higden, in the "Polychronicon," tells us 
that the witches in the Isle of Man an- 
ciently sold winds to mariners, and de- 
livered them in knots tied upon a thread 
exactly as the Laplanders did. Stories of 
mermaids, water-bulls, and other marine 
phenomena, are current among the 
inhabitants. "Waldron mentions a 

charact, a copy of an inscription, 
found under a cross (which was 
carefully preserved and carried to 
the vicar, who wrote copies of it 
and dispersed them over the Island). 
" They tell you," says he, " that they are 
of such wonderful virtue to such as wear 
them, that on whatever business they go, 
they are certain of success. They also 
defend from witchcraft, evil tongues, and 
all efforts of the devil or his agents ; and 
that a woman wearing one of them in her 
bosom, while she is pregnant, shall by no 
accident whatever lose the fruit of her 
womb. I have frequently rode by the 
stone under which they say the original 
paper was found, but it would now be 
looked upon as the worst sacrilege to make 
any attempt to move it from the place." 
He gives also the tenor of the inscription : 
" Fear God, obey the Priesthood, and do 
by your neighbour as you would have him 



390 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



to do to you." Descr. of the Isle of Man, 
Works, 174. 

Waldrou says : ' ' No person will go 
out on any material affair without 
taking some salt in their pockets, much 
less remove from one house to another, 
marry, put out a child, or take one to 
nurse, without salt being mutually in- 
terchanged ; nay, tho' a poor creature be 
almost famished in the streets, he will not 
accept any food you will give him, unless 
you join salt to the rest of your benevo- 
lence." The reason assigned by the 
natives for this is too ridiculous to be 
transcribed, i.e., '" the account given by a 
pilgrim of the dissolution of an inchanted 
Palace on the Island, occasioned by salt 
spilt on the grond." 

The belief in second sight is illustrated 
by a second passage: "As difficult as I 
found it to bring myself to give any faith 
to this, I have frequently been very much 
surprised, when, on visiting a friend, I 
have found the table ready spread, and 
everything in order to receive me, and had 
been told by the person to whom I went, 
that he had knowledge of my coming, or 
some other guest, by these good-natured 
intelligencers. Nay, when obliged to be 
absent some time from home, my own ser- 
vants have assured me, they were informed 
by these means of my return, and expected 
me the very hour I came, though perhaps 
it was some days before I hoped it myself 
at my going abroad. That this is fact, I 
am positively convinced by many proofs. 
Waldron's Description of the Isle of Man, 
Works, 130, 187. 

Speaking of a crypt or souterrain 
chapel near Peel Castle, he says, 
" within it are thirteen pillars, on 
which the whole chapel is supported. They 
have a superstition that whatsoever stran- 
ger goes to see this cavern out of curiosity, 
and ornits to count the pillars, shall do 
something to occasion being confined 
there." Ibid., 104. See some valuable 
papers on this branch of the subject in 
the Antiquary for 1886 and 1895. 

Manx Funeral Customs. — In 
the Isle of Man, observes Train, "When 
a person dies^ the corpse is laid on what is 
called a straightening-board ; a trencher, 
with salt in it, and a lighted candle, are 
placed on the breast, and the bed, on which 
the straightening - board bearing the 
corpse rests, is generally strewed with 
strong-scented flowers." Waldrou says 
that " When a person dies, several of his 
acquaintance come to sit up with him, 
which they call the wake. The Clerk of 
the parish is obliged to sing a psalm, in 
which all the company join ; and after that 
they begin some pastime to divert them- 
selves, having strong beer and tobacco 
allowed them in great plenty. This is a 



custom borrowed from the Irish, as indeed 
are many others much in fashion with 
them. They give no invitation, but every 
body that hsS any acquaintance with the 
deceased comes, either on foot or horse- 
back. I have seen sometimes, at a Manks 
Burial, upwards of a hundred horsemen 
and twice the number on foot : all these 
are entertained at long tables, spread with 
all sorts of cold provisions, and rum and 
brandy flies about at a lavish rate." 
" The procession of carrying the corpse 
to the grave is in this manner : when 
they come within a quarter of a mile of 
the church, they are met by the parson, 
who walks before them singing a psalm, 
all the company joining with him. In 
every church yard there is a cross round 
which they go three times before they 
enter the church." A weird and amusing 
stcry of the Manx hogane is told by the 
Rev. R. C. Cowell in the Antiquary for 
December, 1886. 

Manx Superstitions. — See Manx 
Folklore, supra. 

Manx Wedding's. — Waldron says: 
" Notice is given to all the friends and re- 
lations on both sides, tho' they live ever 
so far distant. Not one of these, unless 
detained by sickness, fails coming and 
bringing something towards the feast : 
the nearest of kin, if they are able, com- 
monly contribute the most, so that they 
have vast quantities of fowls of all sorts : 
I have seen a dozen of capons in one platter 
and six or eight fat geese in another ; sheep 
and hogs roasted whole, and oxen divided 
but into quarters. They are preceded to 
church by musick, who play all the while 
before them the tune. The Black and the 
Grey, and no other is ever used at wed- 
dings." He adds, "that when they arrive 
at the church-yard, they walk three times 
round the church before they enter it." 
"They have bridemen and brides-maids, 
who lead the young couple as in England, 
only with this difference, that the former 
have ozier wands in their hands, as an em- 
blem of superiority." Descr. of the Isle 
of Man, Works, 169. For the Statutes of 
the Island see Train, ii , 167. 

Marbles. — Marbles had no doubt 
their origin in bowls, and received their 
name from the substance of which the 
bowls were formerly made. Taw is an- 
other name of this play, but the taw was 
and is, strictly speaking, a marble of 
larger size used to aim at the others. 
Rogers notices marbles in his "Pleasures 
of Memory," 1. 137. : 

"On yon gray stone that fronts the 

chancel-door 
Worn smooth by busy feet, now seen no 

more. 
Each eve we shot the marble through 

the ring." 



xmrropuLAR customs. 



Notwithstanding Dr. Cornelius Scrib- 
lerus's Injunctions concerning playthings 
of "primitive and simple antiquity," we 
are told " he yet condescended to allow 
Martinus the use of some few modern play- 
things I such as might prove of any bene- 
fit to his mind,by instilling an early notion 
of the Sciences. For example, he found 
that marbles taught him percussion and 
the laws of motion ; nutcrackers the use of 
the lever, swinging on the ends of a board 
the balance ; bottlescrews the vice ; whirli- 
gigs the axis and peritrochia ; bird-cages 
the pulley : and tops the centrifugal 
motion." Bob cherry was thought useful 
and instructive, as it taught, " at once, 
two noble virtues, patience and constancy ; 
the first in adhering to the pursuit of one 
end, the latter in bearing disappoint- 
ment." In a Coventry penny toKen of 
1801 the boys are represented playing at 
marbles in the free school. 

Mare, to Cry the. — A harvest 
custom in Herefordshire. See Halliwell 
in v., and Crying supra. 

Margaret's, St., Day. — (July 
20). Butler, in his " Lives of the Saints," 
dates the commencement of this saint's 
celebrity in our country from the Cru- 
sades. In the third volume of the 
" Shakespear Society's Papers," Collier 
notices several entries in the registers of 
St. Saviour's, Southwark, relating to 
dramas and other festive celebrations on 
this day in the olden time. Among these 
is a record belonging to 30 Hen. VI., as 
follows : " Fyrste, ayd to the pleyers vpon 
Seynt Margrets Day, vij'." Again, in 
the Churchwardens' Accounts of Basing- 
bourne, Cambridgeshire, appears this 
memorandum: "Received at the play 
held on St. Margaret's Day, a.d. mdxi., 
in Basingborn, of the holy martyr St. 
George . . . : Received of the Townshin 
of Royston, xii"., Tharfield, vi'. viii*. Mel- 
ton, V". iiii'i." ; and so on, and at the 
end occur these two curious items : " Item, 
received of the Town of Basingborn on 
the Monday and Friday after the play, 
together with other comers on the Mon- 
day, xiv'. V*. Item, received on the Wed- 
nesday after the play, with a pot of ale at 
Kneesworth, all costs deducted, i'. vii"'. 
It may be noted that Queen's College, 
Cambridge, was founded in 1446 by Mar- 
garet of Anjou, consort of Henry VI., 
and called "The College of St. Margaret 
and St. Bernard," to whom it was 
jointly dedicated. A separate life of this 
Saint was printed more than once in the 
16th century. 

Mari Lhwyd.— It has been satisfac- 
toiily shown that the Mari Lhwyd, or 
horse's skull decked with ribbons, which 
used to be carried about at Christmas in 
Wales, was not exclusively a Welsh cus- 



39i 

torn, but was known and practised in the 
Border-counties. It was undoubtedly a 
form of an old English hobby-horse, one 
universally prevalent as a popular sport, 
and conducted, as the readers of Strutt, 
Douce, and others are already well aware, 
with all kinds of grotesque and whimsical 
mummery. The etymology of the term is 
doubtful. Instinct prompts one to sug- 
gest an association with a practice in- 
tended to commemorate Maid Marian. 

Maritagfium or Amabyr. — The 
fine payable to the King or Crown on the 
marriage of an heir or heiress. The Cinque 
Ports claimed within their liberties an 
exemption. See Morris's Chaucer (Life 
of Chaucer, 19-20), where it is stated that 
on the 28th December, 1375, the King 
granted Chaucer the custody of five soli- 
dates of rent in Solys in Kent, which were 
in the royal hands in consequence of the 
minority of the heir of John Solys, de- 
ceased, together with the marriage of the 
said heir. In the Year-book of xxx. Ed- 
ward I. a case at law is described, in the 
course of which it was elicited that, in 
Cornwall, it was then a manorial custom 
where a bondwoman married out of the 
manor where she was reseant, that she 
should find surety to the lord of the said 
manor to return to it after the death of 
her husband, if he pre-deceased her. It 
was also laid down at the same time, that 
where a bondwoman, or neyfe, married a 
freeman, the act of marriage merely en- 
franchised her during the lifetime of her 
husband ; but when she married the lord of 
the manor, she was thereby enfranchised 
for ever. Oobyr-merch is explained to be 
the Welsh term for the maiden's fee or 
fine payable on marriage. It might be 
in the form of money or kind. In some 
places it was redeemed or commuted for 
a sum payable to the lord, as in the Ho- 
nour of Clun, appertaining to the Earl of 
Arundel, who granted for £60 in the time 
of Elizabeth perpetual exemption from 
this tax. 

Mark. — Some years ago, a gentleman, 
writing in the "Athenaeum," observed: 
" I can tell you of a fancy that some 
people have in the wilder parts of Craven, 
that if the mark of a dead person (the 
body, however, not being cold) be put to 
a will, it is valid in law. A few years ago, 
a case of this nature occurred. A farmer 
had omitted to make his will ; he died, 
and before the body was cold, a will was 
prepared by some relative (of course in his 
own favour), and a mark, purporting to 
be that of the deceased, was made by put- 
ting the pen into the hand of the dead 
man, and so making his mark to the will. 
The body of the man was not then cold. 
The will was contested by some parties, 
and, I believe, proceeded to trial at law : 



392 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



when the circumstances of the belief of the 
parties came out in evidence." 

Market-Penny. — Money for the 
purchase of liquor at market. The refer- 
ence is of course to the old silver coin. 

Markets. — The distinction between 
the fair and the market has been already 
pointed out (Fairs). The latter outlived 
the former, because it was less liable to 
objection, as building and population in- 
creased ; but both are gradually disappear- 
ing under the pressure of social and poli- 
tical changes, and the universality of the 
shop and store. In and around the metro- 
polis the markets were at a period well 
within living recollection numerous 
enough. Those at Covent Garden, Lead- 
enhall, Smithfield and Billingsgate are 
still flourishing. But we long had others 
scattered in various directions, and suc- 
cessively suppressed or abandoned as in- 
consistent with modern conditions and re- 
quirements. I may specify: — 
Stocks Market on the Newport Market ; 

site of the Mansion Shepherd's Market ; 

House. Hence the Chelsea Market ; 

Poultry and Coney- Knightsbridge Mar- 
hope Lane ; ket ; 
The Hay Market in Oxford Market ; 

St. James's ; Carnaby Market ; 

Newgate Market ; Cumberland Mar- 
Farringdon Market ; ket 
Clare Market ; (formerly St. 

Bloomsbury Market ; James's Market). 

The Hay-Market or St. James's Market 
had ceased almost before the time of men 
now living to be what its name implies, 
and what it was in the old days in its par- 
ticular way as much as Covent Garden or 
Leadenhall. Suckling alludes to it in the 
Ballad of a Wedding : 

" At Charing Cross, hard by the way. 
Where thou and I, Dick, sell our hay, 
— There is a house with stairs — " 

In comparatively recent times Lady Bur- 
dett-Coutts endeavoured to establish Col- 
umbia Market. 

Mark's St., Day or Eve. (April 
25th). — Strype, in his " Annals of 
the Reformation," under 1559, informs 
us: "The 25th April, St. Mark's Day 
(that year), was a procession in divers 
parishes of London, and the citizens went 
with their banners abroad in their respec- 
tive parishes, singing in Latin the Kyrie 
Eleeson, after the old fashion." " Al- 
thoughe Ambrose saye that the churche 
knewe no fastinge day betwix Easter and 
Whitsonday, yet beside manye fastes in 
the Rogation weeke, our wise popes of 
late yeares have devysed a monstrous fast 
on Saint Markes Daye. All other fastinge 
dales are on the holy day even, only Saint 
Marke must have his day fasted. Tell us 



a reason why, so that will not be laughen 
at. We knowe wel ynough your reason 
of Tho. Beket, and thinke you are ashamed 
of it : tell us where it was decreed, by the 
Churche or Generall Counsell. Tell us 
also, if ye can, why the one side of the 
strete in Cheapeside fastes that daye, 
being in London diocesse, and the other 
side, beinge of Canterbury diocesse, fastes. 
not? and soe in other townes moe. Could 
not Bekets holynes reache over the strete, 
or would he not? If he coulde not, he 
is not so mighty a Saint as ye make hym ; 
if he would not, he was maliciouse, that 
woulde not doe soe muche for the citye 
wherein he was borne." — The Burnynge 
of Panics Churche (1561), 1563, by Bp. Pil- 
kington. There is a superstitious notion 
in the North of England that if any of the 
family die within the year, the mark of 
the shoe will be impressed on the ashes in 
the hearth, which it is usual to sift on 
this eve. It is customary in Yorkshire, 
as a clergyman of that county informed 
me, for the common people to sit and 
watch in the church porch on St. Mark's 
Eve, from eleven o'clock at night till on© 
in the morning. The third year (for this 
must be done thrice), they are supposed to 
see the ghosts of all those who are to die 
the next year, pass by into the church. 
When any one sickens that is thought te 
have been seen in this manner, it is pre- 
sently whispered about that he will not 
recover, for that such, or such an one, who 
has watched St. Mark's Eve, says so. This 
superstition is in such force, that if the 
patients themselves hear of it, they almost 
despair of recovery. Many are said to 
have actually died by their imaginary 
fears on the occasion ; a truly lamentable, 
but by no means incredible, instance of 
human folly. Brockett, in his "North 
Country Glossary," 1846, notices a similar 
custom of watching for the ghosts of those 
who were to die the next year, and who 
were alleged to pass in procession before 
the watchers in their ordinary dress. It 
was an usage which became very trouble- 
some, because the persons, who kept the 
vigil, real or pretended, paid any grudge 
by giving out, that they had seen the ghost 
of such an one. 

There is still some vestige preserved of 
an old superstitious practice, followed by 
our ancestors on this Eve, of riddling chaff 
as a method of divining the death of per- 
sons connected with the family or the ope- 
rators themselves. Mr. Atkinson, in the 
" Cleveland Glossary," 1868, describes this 
absurd species of augury thus: "The 
riddle is filled with chaff, the scene of 
operations being the barn-floor with both 
barn-doors set wide open ; the hour is mid- 
night or just before, and each person of 
the party takes the riddle in succession. 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



SQS 



and riddles the contents. Should no ap- 
pearance present itself during the action, 
death is not imminent to the person ope- 
rating, or to his friends. But, on the 
other hand, the appearance of a funeral 
procession, or even of persons simply bear- 
ing a coffin, is a certain augury of death, 
either to the then riddler himself, or to 
some one near to him." Sir William 
Vaughan of Merioneth says, in his Golden 
Orove, 1600, "In the yeare of our Lord, 
1589, I being as then but a boy, do remem- 
ber that an ale wife, making no exception 
of dayes, would needes brue upon Saint 
Markes days ; but loe, the marvailous 
worke of God ! whiles she was thus labor- 
ing, the top of the chimney took fire ; and, 
before it could be quenched, her house was 
quite burnt. Surely, a gentle warning 
. to them that violate and prophane forbid- 
den dales." Bishop Hall says: "On St. 
Mark's day, blessings upon the corn are 
implored." Pennant says, that in North 
Wales no farmer dare hold his team on 
St. Mark's Day, because, as they believe, 
one man's team was marked that did work 
that day with the loss of an ox. The 
Church of Rome observes St. Mark's Day 
as a day of abstinence, in imitation of 
St. Mark's disciples, the first Christians 
of Alexandria, who, under this Saint's con- 
duct^ were eminent for their great prayer, 
abstinence, and sobriety. 

Mario w Fair.— This annual affair, 
held on the last three days of October, was 
originally a concession in 1324 by Edward 
II. to Hugh Marlow, lord of the manor 
of Chipping Marlow. The fair has been 
lately (1903) abolished as a nuisance, and 
General Owen Williams, the present lord 
of the manor, received £200, raised by 
public subscription, to indemnify him for 
the loss of the attendant profit. 

Marriagre Lines — The familiar 
name among the poorer classes for the 
marriage certificate, which costs under the 
Act of William Iv. half a crown, but 
which the ofificiating minister not unfre- 
quently presents to the bride in the case 
of persons of humble means — of course 
transcribing from the register in the 
vestry. 

Martinmas. — (November 11). In 
the Roman Calendar I find the subsequent 
observations on the 11th of November: — 
"Wines are tasted and drawn from the 
lees. The Vinalia, a feast of the ancients, 
removed to this day. Bacchus in the 
figure of Martin." Stukeley, speaking of 
Martinsall-hill, observes : "I take the 
name of this hill to come from the merri- 
ments among the Northern people, call'd 
Martinalia, or drinking healths to the 
memory of St. Martin, practis'd by our 
Saxon and Danish ancestors. I doubt not 
but upon St. Martin's Day, or Martinmas, 



all the young people in the neighbourhood 
assembled here, as they do now upon the 
adjacent St. Ann's hill, upon St. Ann's 
Day." In the Churchwardens' Accounts 
of St. Martin Outwich, London, are the 
following articles: — a.d. 1517. " Payd on 
Seynt Martens Day for bred and drynke 
for the syngers, vd." a.d. 1524. " It'm 
for mendyng of the hovell on Sent Marten, 
vjd." It'm for rose garlands, bre<le, wyne, 
and ale, on ij Sent Martens Days, xvd. 
ob." A.D. 1525. " Payd for brede, ale, 
and wyne, and garlonds, on Seynt Mar- 
tyns Day, y" trauslacyon, xvjd." In the 
' ' Debate and Stryfe betwene Somer and 
Wynter " (a translation from the French 
circa 1520), Winter says: 

" Somer, men make great joy what tyme 

I com in 
For companyes gadereth togyther on 

the eue of seynt martyn ; 
Ther is nother greate nor small but thau 

they will drinke wyne, 
If they "sholde lay theyr cote to gage to 

drynke it or it fine." 

This little glimpse is probably alike applic- 
able to our continental neighbours and 
ourselves. Hazlitt's Popular Poetry, iii., 
38. Douce says, that on St. Martin's 
night boys expose vessels of water, which 
they suppose will be converted into wine. 
The parents deceive them by substituting 
wine. Does this artifice throw any side- 
light on the miracle at the marriage at 
Cana of Galilee? And are we entitled to 
put a similar interpretation on a harmless 
stratagem of an analogous kind noticed 
under St. Nicholas's Day? This, in some 
districts, is corruptly called Martlemas, 
In the Glossary to Kennett's " Parochial 
Antiquities," Salt-Silver is explained to 
be, " One penny paid at the Feast of Saint 
Martin by the servile tenants to their 
lord, as a commutation for the service of 
carrying their lord's salt from market to 
his larder." This was for the purpose of 
curing stock for winter use, including 
Martlemas beef. Formerly a custom pre- 
vailed everywhere amongst us, though 
generally confined at present to country 
villages, of killing cows, oxen, swine, &c., 
at this season, which were cured for the 
winter, when fresh provisions were seldom 
or never to be had. In Tusser's " Hus- 
bandry," under June, are the following 
lines : 

" AVhen Easter comes who knows not 

than 
That veale and bacon is the man ? 
And Martilraas Beefe doth beare good 

tacke. 

When countrey folke do dainties lacke." 
With this note in " Tusser Redivivus," 
1744, p. 78. "Martlemas beef is beef 
dried in the chimney, as bacon, and is so 



394 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



called, because it was usual to kill the beef 
for this provision about the feast of St. 
Martin, Nov. 11th. Hall, in his 
"Satires," 1597, mentions 

• — ' ' dried flitches of some smoked beeve, 

Hang'd on a writhen wythe since Mar- 
tins Eve." 

" A piece of beef hung up since Martle- 
mas " IS also mentioned in the play of the 
'' Finder of Wakefield," 1599. About a 
hundred years ago, between Hallowmas 
and Christmas, when the people of Forfar 
laid in their winter provisions, about 
twenty-four beeves were killed in a week ; 
the best not exceeding sixteen or twenty 
stone. A man who had bought a shilling's 
worth of beef, or an ounce of tea, would 
have concealed it from his neighbours like 
murder. At Martilmas, the inhabitants 
of Kircudbright killed an old ewe or two, 
as their winter provision, and used the 
smoked sheep (braxy) that had died 
on the moors, in the latter end of 
autumn. A practice common to the 
North of England down to modern 
days, as we learn from Lucas' Studies in 
Nidderdale, and other sources. Almost 
no beef, and very little mutton, was 
formerly used by the common people 
in Wigton, generally no more than 
a sheep or two, which were killed 
about Martinmas, and salted up for the 
provision of the family during the year. 
The weather on Martinmas Eve is anxi- 
ously watched by the farmers in the Mid- 
land counties, as it is supposed to be an 
index to the barometer for about two or 
three months forward. That this belief is 
wholly unfounded, is almost a superfluous 
remark. The fine weather often experi- 
enced about this season is known as " St. 
Martin's little summer." 

The feast of St. Martin is a day 
of debauch among Christians on the 
Continent : the new wines are then 
first tasted, and the saint's day is 
celebrated with carousing. Aubanus 
tells us, at p. 372, that in Franconia there 
was a great deal of eating and drinking 
at this season ; no one was so poor and 
niggardly that on the feast of St. Martin 
had not his dish of the entrails either of 
oxen, swine, or calves. They drank, too, 
as he also informs us, very liberally of 
wine on the occasion. See also Dupre's 
"Conformity," p. 97. Aubanus tells us, that 
in Germany there was in his time a kind of 
entertainment called the " Feast of Saus- 
ages or Gut-puddings," which was wont 
to be celebrated with great joy and festiv- 
ity. Antiq. Conviv. p. 62. From Fro- 
lich's "Viatorium," p. 254, I find that 
St. Martin's Day is celebrated in Germany 
with geese, but it is not said in what 
manner. See " Sylva jucund. Serm." p. 
18, Stanley says: "St. Martin's Day, 



in the Norway clogs, is marked with a 
goose ; for on that day they always leasted 
on a roasted goose; they say, St. Martin 
being elected to a bishoprick, hid himselt, 
(noluit episcopari) but was discovered by 
that animal. We have transferred the 
ceremony to Michaelmas." 

Martin's, St., Rings — In "Plaine 
Percevall the Peace-maker of England," 
1589, we read: "I doubt whether all be 
gold that glistereth, sith St. Martins 
Rings be but copper within, though they 
be gilt without, sayes the goldsmith." In 
"The Compters Commonwealth," by W. 
Fennor, 1617, p. 28, is the following pas- 
sage : " This kindnesse is but like alchimy 
or Saint Martins rings, that are faire to 
the eye, and have a. rich outside, but if a 
man should break them assunder and looke 
into them, they are nothing but brasse 
and copper." 

Martiemas. — Corrupted from Mar- 
tinmas, q.v. See Nares,Giossary,1859, in v. 

Mary Mag^dalen's Day, St.— 
(July 22). In Oollinson's "Somerset- 
shire," vol. i. Abdick and Bulston Hun- 
dred, p. 64, speaking of Stocklinch, St. 
Magdalen Parish, the author says: "A 
revel is held here on St. Mary Magdalen's 
Day." The Paganalia or country feasts of 
the ancients were of the same stamp with 
this of the wake. Spelman says: " Hsec 
eadem sunt quae apud Ethnicos Paganalia 
dicebantur," &c. 

Mary of Nazareth. — Of this per- 
sonage, the daughter of Anne, and wife of 
Joseph the house-builder, to whom she 
bore several children, among the rest one 
named Jesus, a fair account is to be 
found in the Dictionary of the Bihle^ 1863. 
We hear of her immaculate conception as 
an afterthought on the part of tlie Roman- 
ists, of her purification, and of her assump- 
tion ; but of the broad facts of her career 
we know little, especially of her early life. 
Nearly the whole narrative touching her 
is evidently fabulous, and the three car- 
dinal points, the immaculate conception 
by her mother, her own purification, and 
her transit or assumption, are absurdities, 
which seem scarcely deserving of seri- 
ous debate. In some of the admirable 
books of the late Mr. S. Laing farther par- 
ticulars will be found, and the present 
writer has entered into the subject more 
at large in his Ourselves in Belation to a 
Deity and a Church, 3rd ed. 1904. 

Masse Blanche. — The collective 
names given to the 300 martyrs who were 
cast into a cauldron of live coals at tJtica 
(August 18). 

Matachin. — A dance with swords, 
of Spanish origin, in which three persons 
took part. See Nares, Glos., 1859. in v., 

Matthew's, St. Day. — (Septem- 
ber 21). Philip de Thaun, in his "Livre des 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



Creatures," written about 1121, says : 
" And now we see the reason, why we 
ought to keep the feast of St. Matthew, of 
which many men say, that they do not 
know how to keep it, or which day to cele- 
brate. When tlie bissextile falls on the 
following day, according to the under- 
standing of mankind, I tell you briefly, 
pay close attention, on the day which 
comes nearest that keepest its vigil, it is 
not to be doubted, a day must not be in- 
terposed between that holy day and the 
vigil day ; but therein the feast shall be 
kept and celebrated." Wright's Trans- 
lation of the Anglo-Norman original 
("Popular Treatises on Science," 1841, 
p. 51). 

The following is from the Daily 
News of September 22, 1868 ; the usage to 
which the description refers, has been 
overlooked by Hone and the Editor of the 
"Book of Days." : "Yesterday being St. 
Matthew's Day, in accordance with a time 
and well-honoured custom, the senior scho- 
lars of Christ's Hospital, or what is more 
familiarly known as the Blue Coat School, 
delivered orations in the presence of the 
Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of the City of 
London. Early in the forenoon, the City 
dignitaries and boys of the school attended 
divine service at Christ's Church. Service 
being over, the scholars repaired to the 
great hall of the school, where a very large 
audience, principally composed of ladies, 
was assembled to hear the delivery of tlie 
speeches. Following the example of pre- 
vious years, those Grecians who are about 
to proceed to the Cambridge University 
delivered addresses on the benefits result- 
ing from those metropolitan hospitals 
which are called royal. Robert William 
Le Mesurier, fifth Grecian, chose the 
Greek language in which to convey his 
opinion of the great blessings resulting 
from these charities, while Charles Albert 
Stokes, first Grecian, Thompson, mathe- 
matical medallist and Montefiore prize- 
man, 1868, spoke in English ; Alf . George 
Arthur Robarts, fourth Grecian, spoke 
in Latin ; and Frederick J_ Biden, 
second Grecian and Frencli prizeman. 
1868, spoke in French. Each of 
these scholars was allowed to treat 
the subject in his own way, though, for 
the most part, there was little difference 
in them, the same cardinal points being 
touched upon in each. Allusion was made 
to the establishment, now three centuries 
ago, of the royal hospitals by the pious 
and youthful Edward VI. These hospitals 
were founded in a time of peace, and 
shortly after the Reformation, and as an 
emblem of it, and they have lasted through 
the dangerous and anarchical times of 
the reign of Queen Mary and of the Com- 



395 

monwealth. Christ's Hospital and St. 
Bartholomew's are in close proximity, the 
one keeping its door constantly open to 
receive the sick, while the other maintains 
and educates more than a thousand chil- 
dren, and it was only the other day that 
her Majesty the Queen laid the foundation 
of a new building in which the good work 
of St. Thomas's Hospital will in future be 
carried on. Referring more particularly 
to Christ's Hospital, Charles Albert 
Stokes, in his English oration, said this 
foundation instructed its children for 
every branch of useful and honourable 
life, and everywhere on the face of the 
globe where there are Englishmen, are 
her scholars to be found. Some proceed 
to the Universities, some to either branch 
of the navy, very many are engaged in the 
business of commerce, of whom it has been 
said that they are generally characterised 
for their intelligence, activity, and integ- 
rity, a greater honour than which could 
not be desired either for them or for the 
school. The various points of the ad- 
dresses, whether delivered in the English 
or other tongues, were taken up by the 
boys and loudly cheered. After the de- 
livery of the addresses on the subject of 
the royal hospitals, several other scholars- 
proceeded to give miscellaneous orations- 
in Latin and Greek, these embracing a 
translation from ' Henry VI.' into Greek 
iambics, by Reginald Heber Hoe ; a trans- 
lation into Latin Elegiacs of the ' Battle 
of Linden,' by Arthur Lionel Smith; a* 
translation into Greek Hexameters of 
Kirke AVhite's ' Time,' by Alfred Joshua 
Butler ; and a translation into Latin 
Sapphics of the ' Burial of the Minni- 
sink,'_by Samuel Wood. Orations were- 
also given, one in Latin by Edward Mac- 
laine Field, and the other in Greek by 
Frank Henry Carter." 

Matthias, St., the Apostle 

(February 24). Before the alteration of 
the style, according to Nicolas (Chrono- 
logy of History, p. 162), this anniversary- 
was observed in leap years on the 25th of 
February : but according to a tract en- 
titled The True Time of Keeping St. 
Matthias's Day, 1711, the change was 
made by Archbishop Bancroft. 

Maund. — A basket, a word formerly 
in common use. In a letter from Mrs. 
Hazlitt, wife of the essayist, to her son, 
dated July 10, 1831, she says : " Your let- 
ter, which I received by the maund last 

night " But it appears to have 

been completely forgotten in this sense. 

Maundy or Shere Thursday— 
Cowell describes Maundy Thursday as the 
day preceding Good Friday, when they 
commemorate and practice the commands 
of the Saviour, in washing the feet of the- 



396 



NATIONAL FAITH 



poor, &o., as our Kings of England have 
long practised the good old custom on that 
day of washing the feet of poor men in 
number equal to the years of their reign, 
and giving them shoes, stockings, and 
money. Some derive the word from man- 
datum, command, but others, and I think 
much more probably, from maund, a kind 
of great basket or hamper, containing 
«ight bales, or two fats. In the Privy 
Purse Expenses of Henry VII., under 
1494, we have : " To thirty eight poer men 
iu almes, £6 Os. 4d. For thirty-eight smale 
ipurses. Is. 8d." — Excerpta Historica, 
1833, p. 97. King Henry VIII. after the 
dissolution of his marriage with Katherine 
of Arragon in 1533, refused to allow her 
to keep her maundy as Queen, but per- 
mitted her to do so, if she thought proper, 
as Princess-Dowager, in much the same 
manner that the mother of Henry VII. 
had in former years. Ellis prints a letter 
on this subject from the Treasurer of 
Henry VIII's Household to Thomas Crom- 
well. 

The following is from the " Gentleman's 
Magazine" for April 1731: "Thursday, 
April 15, being Maunday Thursday, there 
was distributed at the Banquetting 
House, Whitehall, to forty-eight poor men 
-and forty-eight poor women (the king's 
age forty-eight) boiled beef and shouldei's 
of mutton, and small bowls of ale, which 
is called dinner after that, large wooden 
platters of fish and loaves, viz. undressed, 
one large old ling, and one large dried 
<cod ; twelve red herrings and twelve white 
herrings, and four half quarter loaves. 
Each person had one platter of this pro- 
vision ; after which was distributed to 
them shoes, stockings, linen, and woollen 
<;loth, and leathern bags with one 
penny, two penny, three penny, and 
four penny pieces of silver, and 
shillings ; to each about four pounds 
in value. His grace the Lord Arch- 
bishop of York, Lord High Almoner, 
performed the annual ceremony of wash- 
ing the feet of a certain number of poor 
in the Royal Chapel, Whitehall, which 
was formerly done by the kings them- 
selves, in imitation of our Saviour's pat- 
^«rn of humility, &c. James the Second 
was the last King who performed this in 
-person." The ceremony of keeping a 
maundy is now entirely disused. King 
William III. deputed his almoner to per- 
form the pious office, which his predeces- 
sors had executed themselves. 

Among the receipts and disbursements 
of the Canons of the Priory of St. 
Mary in Huntingdon, we have: "Item, 
gyven to 12 pore men upon Shere Thors- 
day, 2s." In an account of Barking Ab- 
bey, we read, inter alia,, in transcripts 
from the Cottonian Manuscripts and 



the " Monasticon." " Deliveryd to the 
Co'vent coke, for rushefals for Palme bun- 
daye, xxi. pounder fygges. Item, dely- 
veryd to the seyd coke on Sher Thursday 
viii pounde ryse. Item, delyveryd to the 
said coke for Shere Thursday xviii pounde 
almans." Nichols' "Illustrations of the 
Manners and Expences of Ancient Times 
in England," p. 294. That it was form- 
erly customary on this day to give, not 
only money, but pairs of shoes, appears 
by an entry in the ' ' Privy Purse Expenses 
of Elizabeth of York," 1502: '/.Itm, for 
xxxvij payre shoes for xxxvijti poore 
women at the Queenes Maundy at vd. the 
payre, xvs. vd." Among the ancient 
annual church disbursements of St. Mary 
at Hill, in the City of London, I find the 
following entry: "Water on Maundy 
Thursday and Easter Eve, Id." 

A writer in the " Gentleman's Maga- 
zine " states that "it is a general 
practice of people of all ranks in 
the Roman Catholic Church countries 
to dress in their very best deaths 
on Maundy Thursday. The churches 
are unusually adorned, and everybody 
performs what is called the Stations; 
which is, to visit several churches, saying 
a short prayer in each, and giving alms 
to the numerous beggars who attend upon 
the occasion." According to another cor- 
respondent, the inhabitants of Paris and 
Naples made formerly this day the occa- 
sion for much religious display. 

Maw or Mack. — In the Household 
Book of Roger, second Lord North, under 
1575, occurs this entry: "Aug 6. Lost 
at Maw w"" the Queen, xxviijK." The 
next item is, "Lost at Primerow " (ap- 
parently also with Queen Elizabeth), 
" xxxiijZi." On November 2 followina; 
his lordship lost to her majesty " at play," 
£32, and on the 22nd February, 1575-6, 
£70. He was with Elizabeth at Kenil- 
worth, and there she won £50 more of 
him. It seems that in the later years of 
Elizabeth's reign, Maw, from having been 
a vulgar country game, grew into favour 
and fashion at Court, for in a tract 
printed in 1580, it is said : " Master Rich. 
Drake, a gentleman well bearing himselfe 
alwayes, . . . advised M. Hall as his 
friende. . . specially for the giving signes 
of hys game at Mawe, a play at cardes 
growne out of the country, from the mean- 
est, into credite at the courte with the 
greatest." What follows presently is 
curious: "In truth, quoth Hall, yester- 
night he trode on my foote, I being at 
mawe at Mistresse Arundels, the old and 
honorable ordinary table, as I may terme 
it, of England ; but what he ment thereby 
I know not, I thnke no evil." A Letter 
sent by F. A. tovchinn a qvarell between 
Arthur Hall and Melchisedech Mallerie. 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



397 



to his very friend L. B. &c. (1580, repr. 
in " Miscellanea Antiqua Anglicana," 
1816. In the " True Tragedie of Richard 
the Third," 1594, a citizen, speaking of 
Lord Hastings, says: "He is as good as 
the ase of hearts at maw." But the 
Four has been thought to have been the ! 
best card. See Hazlitt's Dodsley, x, 539. 
Randolph thus alludes to it in his (post- 
humous) poems, 1638 : 

" Histrio may 
At maw, or gleek, or at primero play, 
Still Madam goes to stake — " 
In the comedy of " Patient Grissil," 1603, 
a stage direction says; "A drunken 
feast : they quarrel and grow drunk, and 
pocket up the meat : the dealing of cans, 
like a set at mawe." Among the Huth 
broadsides, is one in prose, sine vlld notci, 
entitled, "The Groome-porters Lawes at 
Mawe, to be observed for fulfilling the due 
order of the game." These laws are sis- 
teen in number. The duties of the groom- 
porter are defined at large in the ' ' Anti- 
quarian Repertory," ed. 1807, vol. ii. p. 
201. See also Dyce's Middle ton, 1840, ii., 
197, and the authority there quoted, 
Pepys's Diary, Jan. 1, 1667-8, and Nares, 
Glossary, 1859. p. 389. Taylor the Water- 
poet facetiously says of his hero, Nicholas 
Wood, of Harrietsham, the Great Eater of 
Kent (1630) : " Hee is no gamester, nei- 
ther at dice, or cards, yet there is not a 
man within forty miles of his head, that 
can play with him at maw." 

May. — May is generally held to be 
derived from Mnia, the mother of Mer- 
cury, to whom the Romans offered sacri- 
fices on this day. But perhaps there is 
an intermixture in the ceremonies ob- 
served at this season of the ancient hom- 
age paid to Maia and to Flora, the latter 
the goddess of vernal productiveness. Our 
British forefathers appear to have lighted 
fires on the Crugall or Druid's mound on 
May-day, perhaps on the same principle 
that such a practice was afterwards cele- 
brated on St. John the Baptist's Eve ; 
and they are, moreover, said to have been 
accustomed to draw or hale each other 
over or through these fires as a pastime, 
which may have led to the tradition of 
human sacrifices. These fire-games are 
noticed in a Welsh triad, and probably 
involved occasional disasters. Barnes, 
Notes on Ancifnt Britain, 1858. p. 18. A 
wet and cold May seems generally to have 
been regarded as a good portent. In our 
own language we get the proverb, " A hot 
May makes a fat church-hay," and M. 
Michel, in his "Pays Basque," 1857. 
notices a similar superstition as prevalent 
in that region. 

May-Babies. — It seems that in 
some parts of Devonshire they have a cus- 
tom of dressing up dolls, which they call 



May-babies, in commemoration of Charles 
II. and his concealment in the oak. The 
women and children carry these about, en- 
closed in a box, and covered with a loose 
cloth. The precise origin of the usage has 
not been hitherto traced. In the same 
neighbourhood the people make an effigy of 
straw, which they dress up in royal attire, 
even to the Blue Ribbon and Garter, and 
carry in procession. This also belongs to 
Oak-apple Day, and is more clearly indi- 
cative, prima facie, of a desire to per- 
petuate the memory of the Restoration. 

May-Cats. — A correspondent of 
" Notes and Queries " states, tnat in Wilt- 
shire and Devonshire cats born in May 
are not valued, because it is believed they 
will catch no mice or rats, and will, on 
the contrary, " bring in snakes and slow- 
woi'ms." 

May-Day. — 

' ' To Islington and Hogsdon runnes the 
stieame 

Of giddie people, to eate cakes and 
creame. 

Toilet, in the description of his painted 
window (first inserted in Steevens's Shake- 
spear, 1778), says: "Better judges may 
decide that the institution of this festival 
originated from the Roman Floralia, or 
from the Celtic La Bel tine (Bal-tein), 
while I conceive it derived to us from our 
Gothic ancestors." Olaus Magnus says : 
"That after their long winter, from the 
beginning of October to the end of April, 
the Northern nations have a custom to 
welcome the returning splendour of the 
sun with dancing, and mutually to feast 
each other, lejoicing that a better season 
for fishing and hunting was approached." 
In honour of May Day the Goths and 
Southern Swedes had a mock battle be- 
tween summer and winter, which ceremony 
is retained in the Isle of Man, where the 
Danes and Norwegians had been for a 
long time masters. Boi'lase, in his ac- 
count of Cornwall, has this observation : 
" This usage is nothing more than a gratu- 
lation of the spring"; and every house 
exhibited a proper signal of its approach, 
" to testify their universal joy at the re- 
vival of vegetation. An ancient custom 
still retained by the Cornish is that of 
decking their doors and porches on the 
first day of May with green boughs of syca- 
more and hawthorn, and of planting trees, 
or rather stumps of trees, before their 
houses." In the Roman Calendar I find 
the following observation on the 30th of 
April : 

" The boys go out Maying." 

There was a time when this custom was 
observed by noble and royal personages, 
as well as the vulgar. Thus we read, in 
Chaucer's " Court of Love," that, early 
on May Day, " fourth goth al the Court, 



398 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



both most and lest, to fetche the flouris 
fresh, and braunch, and blome." Stow 
tells lis : " Of these Mayings we reade, in 
the raigne of Henry the Sixt, that the 
iildermen and sheriffes of London being, on 
May Day, at the Bishop of London's wood, 
in the parish of Stebunheath (Stepney), 
and having there a worshipfull dinner for 
themselves and other commers, Lydgate 
the Poet, that was a monke of Bery, sent 
to them by a pursuant a joyfuU commen- 
dation of that season, containing sixteen 
staves in meter roiall, beginning thus : 

' Mightie Flora, Goddesse of fresh 
flowers. 
Which clothed hath the soyle in lustie 
greene, 
Made buds spring, with her swete 
showers. 
By influence of the sunne-shine. 
To doe pleasance of intent full cleane, 

Vnto the States which now sit here, 
Hath Vere downe sent her owne daugh- 
ter deare." 

In a Royal Household Account, communi- 
cated by Craven Ord, Esq., of the Ex- 
chequer, I find the following article : — ■ 
" July 7, 7 Hen. VII. Item, to the May- 
dens of Lambeth for a May, lOsh." So, 
among "Receipts and Disbursements of 
the Canons of the Priory of St. Mary, in 
Huntingdon," in Mr. Nichols's "Illus- 
trations of the Manners and Expences 
of Ancient Times in England," 1797, 
p. 294, we have: "Item, gyven to 
the Wyves of Herford to the makyng of 
there May, 12d." Of the celebration of 
May-day by Henry VIII. and Queen Cath- 
erine in 1515 the Venetian ambassador, 
Sebastian Giustinian, who was present, 
has left us by far the best account : — "On 
the first day of May his Majesty sent two 
English lords to the Ambassadors, who 
were taken by them to a place called 
Greenwich, five miles hence, where the 
King was for the purpose of celebrating 
May Day. On the ambassadors arriving 
there, they mounted on horseback, with 
many of the chief nobles of the kingdom, 
and accompanied the most Serene Queen 
into the country to meet the King." The 
writer, whose letter to his government is 
dated May 3, adds that her majesty pro- 
ceeded with her retinue two miles out of 
Greenwich, into a wood, "where they 
found the King with his guard, all clad 
in a livery of green, with bows in their 
hands, and about a hundred noblemen on 
horseback, all gorgeously arrayed." Henry 
indulged more than once in the earlier 
part of his reign in this diversion. At 
that time the Robin Hood tradition was 
three centuries younger than it is now. 

It may be necessary to observe that 
the May-game was not confined to 
the month, from which it has de- 



rived its name, and to which it 
had been, doubtless, originally limited: 
for, on the 3rd June, 1556, there was, ac- 
cording to Machyn, "a goodly May-gam 
at Westmynster as has ben synes." There 
were, he adds, " gyantes, morespykes, 
gunes, and drumes, and duwylles (devils), 
and iij mores-dansses, and bag-pypes and 
wyolles, and mony dysgyssyd, and the lord 
and lade of May rod gorgyously, with 
mynsterelles dyvers playng." In a May- 
game which took place on the 30th of May, 
1557, in Fenchurch Street, Henry Mac- 
hyn's " Diary " informs us that the "Nine 
Worthies" were also represented. They 
also took part in the one which was cele- 
brated on the 24th June, 1559. On May 
Day, 1559, a company of people gathered 
at Westminster, in boats opposite the pal- 
ace, and began throwing eggs and oranges 
at each other, and some set fire to squibs, 
one of which fell upon a barrel of gun- 
powder, and nearly caused the death of 
several persons, but by good fortune only 
one was drowned. 

In parts of Huntingdonshire, the poor 
people go "sticking," or gathering sticks 
for fuel in Warboys Wood on May Day. 

There is an engraving of the 18th century 
where a fiddler and two women described 
as milkmaids are dancing, one of the 
dancers having on her head a silver plate, 
which was borrowed for the occasion. 
Bourne tells us that, in his time, 
in the villages in the North of Eng- 
land, the juvenile part of both sexes were 
wont to rise a little after midnight on the 
morning of that day, and walk to some 
neighbouring wood, accompanied with 
music and the blowing of horns, where 
they broke down branches from the trees 
and adorned them with nosegays and 
crowns of flowers. This done, they re- 
turned homewards with their booty, about 
the time of sunrise, and made their doors 
and windows triumph in the flowery spoil. 
See Magdalen College, Oxford. 

Shakespear says, it was impossible 
to make the people sleep on May 
morning, and that they rose early 
to observe the rites of May. Stubbes, 
in his "Anatomy of Abuses," 1583, 
shews the darker side of the picture : 
"Against Maie — every parishe, towne, 
and village, assemble themselves together, 
bothe men, women, and children, olde and 
yong, even all indifferently : and either 
goyng all together, or deuidyng them- 
selves into companies, they goe some to the 
woodes and groves, some to the hilles and 
mountaines, some to one place, some to 
another, where they spende all the night 
in pastymes, and in the mornyng they 
returne, bringing with them birch, bowes, 
and braunches of trees, to deck their as- 
semblies withall." — "I have heard it 
credibly reported," he adds, " (and that 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



399 



viva voce) by men of great gravitie, cre- 
dits, and reputation, that of fourtie, three 
score, or a hundred maides goying to the 
woode ouer night, there have scarcely 
the thirde parte of them returned home 
againe undefiled." In Braithwaite's 
" Whimzies," 1631, p. 132, speaking of a 
Ruffian, the author says : "His sove- 
raignty is showne highest at May-games, 
wakes, summerings, and rush-bearings." 
In "The Laws of the Market," 1677, un- 
der "The Statutes of the Streets of this 
City against Noysances," 29, (reprinted 
from Stowe's Survey, 1633), I find the fol- 
lowing : " No man shall go in the streets 
by night or by day with bow bent, or 
arrows under his girdle, nor with sword 
unscabbar'd under pain of imprisonment ; 
or with hand-gun, having therewith pow- 
der and match, except it be in a usual 
May-game or sight." The Court of James 
I. and the populace long preserved the 
observance of the day, as Spelman re- 
marked. " May is the merry moneth — 
on the first day, betimes in the morning, 
shall young fellowes and mayds be so en- 
veloped with a mist of wandring out of 
their wayes, that they shall fall into 
ditches one upon another. In the after- 
noone, if the skie cleare up, shall be a 
stinking stirre at Pickehatch, with the 
solemne revels of morice-dancing, and the 
hobbie-horse so neatly presented, as if one 
of the masters of the parish had playd it 
himselfe. Against this high-day, likewise, 
shall be such preparations for merry meet- 
ings, that divers durty sluts shall bestow 
more in stufEe, lace, and making up of a 
gowne and a peticote, then their two 
yeares wages come to, besides the benefits 
of candles' ends and kitchen stufEe." — 
Vox Graculi, 1623. A few other literary 
allusions may be interesting : 

"If thou lov'st me then, 

Steal forth thy father's house to-morrow 

night ; 
And in the wood, a league without the 

town. 
Where I did meet thee once with 

Helena, 
To do observance to a morn of May, 
There will I stay for thee." 
Mids. N. Dream, act i. so. 1. 

" And though our May-lord at the feast. 

Seemed very trimly clad. 
In cloth by his owne mother drest, 
Yet comes not neere this lad." 
Browne's Shepherd's Pipe, 1614. 

" On May Morning. 
" Now the bright morning star, day's 

harbinger, 
Comes dancing from the East, and leads 

with her 



The flow'ry May, who from her green 

lap throws 
The yellow cowslip and the pale prim- 
rose. 
Hail ! bounteous May ! that dost inspire 
Mirth and youth and warm desire : 
Woods and groves are of thy dressing, 
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing. 
Thus we salute thee with our early song, 
And welcome thee, and wish thee long. ' 

— Milton. In Herrick's " Hesperides " 
are several allusions to customs on May 
Day. 

In the " Life of Mrs. Pilkington " the 
writer says, " They took places in the wag- 
gon, and quitted London early on May 
morning ; and it being the custom in this 
month for the passengers to give the wag- 
goner at every inn a ribbon to adorn his 
team, she soon discovered the origin of 
the proverb, ' as fine as a horse ' ; for, be- 
fore they got to the end of their journey, 
the poor beasts were almost blinded by the 
tawdry party-coloured flowing honours of 
their heads." The Sheffield Daily Tele- 
graph of May 2, 1889, says : "Yesterday 
the annual parade of dray horses owned 
by the Midland Railway Company took 
place. Of the 113 animals forming the 
Sheffield stud no less than a hundred put 
in an appearance at the Wicker Goods Sta- 
tion. The horses were, without exception, 
in splendid condition, and the decorations 
showed that the draymen had taken great 
pains in polishing the harness and general 
equipment. A dray horse at work is not 
expected to be a thing of beauty ; but j-es- 
terday the horses attending the annual 
parade looked as gay as circumstances 
would permit, with bright ribbons at- 
tached to their manes and tails, and with 
the brasswork of the harness polished to 
brilliancy. In order to encourage the 
men to groom the horses well and to keep 
the harness in condition, a number of 
prizes are annually given for the best- 
groomed horses. 

On New May Day the cart, wag- 
gon, and brewers' horses are usually deco- 
rated with ribbons and rosettes, and in 
many cases now new reins and whips are 
provided. This happened in 1903. In 
1892, May-Day falling on a Sunday, the 
observance took pla'ce on the day previous. 

Martin, speaking of the Isle of Lewis, 
says that " the natives in the village Bar- 
vas retain an antient custom of sending a 
man very early to cross Barvas river every 
first day of May, to prevent any females 
crossing it first ; for that, they say, would 
hinder the salmon from coming into the 
river all the year round. They pretend 
to have learn'd this from a foreign sailor, 
who was ship-wreck'd upon that coast a 
long time ago. This observation they 



400 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



maintain to be true, from experience. 
For an account of the May-day celebra- 
tions in France before the Revolution of 
1789, see Donee's " Illust. of Shakespear," 
vol. ii., pp. 463, 468, 471. Compare Evil 
May Bay, Irish May Customs, and Mor- 
ris Dance. 

May-Day, Old — May 11. In the 
Tears of Old May Day, ascribed to Lovi- 
bond, are some stanzas in allusion to the 
alteration in the style. 

May-Dew. — It was long an article 
of popular faith in Eastern and Western 
Europe, that a maiden, washing herself 
with dew from the hawthorn on the first 
day of May at daybreak, would preserve 
her beauty for ever, the operation being 
of course annually repeated. In 1515 we 
find Catherine of Arragon, accompanied 
by twenty-five of her ladies, sallying out 
on May-Day to gather the dew for the 
purpose of preserving her complexion, and 
in 1623 the Spanish Infanta Maria is de- 
scribed by Howell in one of his Familiar 
Letters as doing the same thing in the 
country, where she was staying at a casa 
de eampo belonging to her royal father 
near Madrid, while Prince Charles was 
paying his addresses to her. In the Morn- 
ing Post, Monday, May 2nd, 1791, it was 
mentioned, " that yesterday, being the 
first of May, according to annual and 
superstitious custom, a number of persons 
went into the fields and bathed their faces 
with the dew on the grass, under the idea 
that it would render them beautiful." At 
a village in Sussex, about 1810, the lasses 
nsed to repair to the woods early on May 
morning, and gather the dew, which they 
sprinkled over their faces as a preserva- 
tive against freckles, and to secure their 
good looks until the next anniversary. 

Pepys notes in his " Diary," under 
May 28, 1667: "My wife away down 
with Jane and W. Hewer to "Wool- 
wich, in order to a little ayre and to 
lie there to-morrow, and so to gather May- 
dew tomorrow morning, which Mrs. Tur- 
ner hath taught her is the only thing in 
the world to wash her face with ; and I 
am contented with it." On the 9th of 
May, 1669, Mrs. Pepys "went with her 
coach abroad " for the same purpose. Lord 
Braybrooke refers to Hone's " Every Day 
Book," where the case of belief in this dis- 
solvent (as Aubrey calls it) in 1791, is 
noticed. See Aubrey's Miscellanies, 1696, 
ed. 1857, p. 127. 

At Venice, as early as 1081, mention oc- 
curs of a Dogaressa, who, when she rose, 
bathed her cheeks with dew ; but this was 
a daily process, undertaken from a simi- 
lar motive. She was by birth a Greek. 
Hazlitt's Venetian Bepublic, 1900, ii., 
753. 



May Fair.— St. James's Fair (q. v.) 
was removed to Brookfield, Westminster, 
adjoining to Piccadilly, in 1688, and was 
held annually on May-Day and for about a 
fortnight after. It proved as great a 
nuisance in its new place of settlement 
as it had in its original one. in 1709 a 
pamphlet appeared, giving reasons for 
the suppression of this fair. " Multitudes 
of the booths erected in this Fair," we are 
told, " are not for trade and merchandise, 
but for musicke, shows, drinking, raffling, 
lotteries, stage-plays, and drolls. It is a 
very unhappy circumstance of this iair, 
that it begins with the prime beauty of 
the year, in which many innocent persons 
incline to walk into the fields and out- 
parts of the city to divert themselves, as 
they very lawfully may." A farther ac- 
count of May Fair may be found in Mr. 
Wheatley's Piccadilly, 1870, pp. 200-208. 
May Garlands. — In Martin Par- 
ker's ballad of "The Milkmaid's Life," 
there is a passage to the immediate pur- 
pose : — 

" Upon the first of May, 
With garlands fresh and gay, 
With mirth and music sweet, 
For such a season meet. 

They passe their time away — " 

These garlands are described by Robert 
Fletcher in his " Poems," 1656 : — 

"Heark, how Amyntas in melodious loud 
Shrill raptures tunes his horn-pipe I 

whiles a crowd 
Of snow-white milk-maids, crowned with 

garland gay, 
Trip it to the soft measures of his lay; 
And fields with curds and cream like 

green-cheese lye ; 
This now or never is the Gallaxie. 
If the facetious gods ere taken were 
With mortal beauties and disguis'd, 'tis 

here. 
See how they mix societies, and tosse 
The tumbling ball into a willing losse, 
That th' twining Ladyes on their necks 

might take 
The doubled kisses which they first did 

stake." 
In the dedication to "Col. Marten's 
Familiar Epistles to his Lady of Delight," 
by E. Gayton, 1663^ we have the fol- 
lowing allusion to this custom: "What's 
a May-day milking-pail without a garland 
and a fiddle?" "An antient poor 
woman " (an old writer relates) " went 
from Wapping to London to buy flowers, 
about the 6th or 7th of May, 1660, to make 
garlandj for the day of the King's pro- 
clamation (that is. May 8th), to gather 
the youths together to dance for the gar- 
land; and when she had bought the flow- 
ers, and was going homewards, a cart went 
over part of her body, and bruised her for 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



401 



it, just before the doors of such as she 
might vex thereby. But since, she remains 
in a great deal of misery by the bruise 
she had gotten, and cryed out, the devil ! 
saying the devil had owed her a shame, 
and now thus he had paid her. It's judged 
at the writing hereof that she will never 
overgrow it." Henri Misson, who was in 
England in the time of Charles II., says : 
" On the first of May, and the five or six 
days following, all the pretty young coun- 
try girls that serve the town with milk, 
dress themselves up very neatly, and bor- 
row abundance of silver plate, whereof 
they make a pyramid, which they adorn 
with ribbands and flowers, and carry upon 
their heads, instead of their common milk- 
pails. In this equipage, accompanied by 
some of their fellow milk-maids and a bag- 
pipe or fiddle, they go from door to door, 
dancing before the houses of their custo- 
mers, in the midst of boys and girls that 
follow them in troops, and every body 
gives them something." The children at 
Islip, in Oxfordshire, used to carry about 
their May garlands, singing : 

" Good morning. Missis and Master, 
I wish you a happy day ; 
Please to smell my garland. 
Because it is the first of May." 

A writer in the Morning Post, May 2, 
1791, says : " I remember that in walking 
that same morning between Hounslow and 
Brentford I was met by two distinct par- 
ties of girls with garlands of flowers, who 
begged money of me, saying ' Pray, Sir, 
remember the garland.' " 

May Gosling:— In the North of 
England, they appear to have had a May 
gosling, equivalent to the April Fool. A 
correspondent of the " Gent. Mag." for 
April, 1791, says: — "A May gosling, on 
the first of May, is made with as much 
eagerness, in the North of England, as an 
April Noddy or Fool, on the first of April." 

May Hirings.— At those, which were 
held in Lincolnshire in 1902, not one girl 
in twenty, engaged for the farmhouse, 
would undertake the duties of milking, 
which was once a sine qua non of almost 
every such domestic. The majority of ser- 
vants now stipulate for a weekly holiday, 
and in most cases at least one evening or 
one afternoon " off " per week has to be 
conceded. The wages demanded, too, 
show a substantial increase over those 
which obtained a few years ago. Girls of 
14 and 15 years of age going into general 
service asked as many pounds per year, 
and boys for the farm were equally pre- 
cocious."— Da% Telegraph, May, 22, 
1902. •" > 

May, Lord and Lady or Queen 

of .—In "The Knight of the Burning 



Pestle," 1613, Rafe, one of the characters, 
appears as Lord of the May : 

" And, by the common-councell of my 

fellows in the Strand, 
With gilded staff, and crossed skarfe, 

the May-Lord here I stand." 

He adds : 

" The Morrice rings while hobby horse 
doth foot it featously;" 

and. addressing the group of citizens as- 
sembled around him, "from the top of 
Conduit-head," says : 

" And lift aloft your velvet heads, and 

slipping of your gowne. 
With bells on legs, and napkins cleane 

unto your shoulders ti'de. 
With scarfs and garters as you please, 

and Hey for our town cry'd : 
March out and shew your willing minds, 

by twenty and by twenty. 
To Hogsdon or to Newington, where 

ale and cakes are plenty. 
And let it nere be said for shame, that 

we, the youths of London, 
Lay thrumming of our caps at home, 

and left our custome undone. 
Up then, I say, both young and old, 

both man and maid, a Maying, 
With drums and guns that bounce 

aloud, and merry taber playing." 

"It appears," says Douce, "that the 
Lady of the May was sometimes carried 
in procession on men's shoulders ; for Ste- 
phen Batman, speaking of the Pope and 
his ceremonies, states that he is carried 
on the backs of four deacons, ' after the 
maner of carying whytepot queenes in 
Western May games. There can be no 
doubt that the Queen of May is the legiti- 
mate representative of the Goddess Flora 
in the Roman Festival." Browne thus 
describes the Queen or Lady : 

" As I haue scene the Lady of the May 
Set in an arbour (on a Holy-day) 
Built by the May-pole, where the iocund 

swaines 
Dance with the maidens to the bagpipes 

straines. 
When enuious night commands them to 

be gone. 
Call for the merry youngsters one by one, 
And for their well performance soone 

disposes. 
To this a garland interwoue with roses ; 
To that, a earned hooke or well-wrought 

scrip ; 
Gracing another with her cherry lip : 
To one her garter, to another then 
A hand-kerohiefe cast o're and o're 

agen : 
And none returneth emptie that hath 

spent 
His paines to fill their rurall meri- 

ment — " 



402 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



In the " Gent. Mag." for October, 1793, 
there is a curious anecdote of Dr. Geddes, 
the well-known translator of the Bible, 
who^ it should seem, was fond of innocent 
festivities. He was seen in the summer of 
that year, ' ' mounted on the poles behind 
the Queen of the May at Marsden Pair, 
Co. Oxon." At Cambridge they beg money 
for "the poor May Lady," a figure dressed 
grotesquely by the children. 

" The bush of hawthorn," observes 
a writer, "or, as it is called. May, 
placed at the doors on this day, 
may point out the first fruits or 
the Spring, as this is one of the earliest 
trees which blossoms." Ihre, in his "Suio- 
Gothic Glossary," makes mention of the 
King or Lord of May upon the Continent 
(tom. ii. p. 118, sub. v.). The designation 
of " Lady of May " conferred by the ano- 
nymous author of the " Justes of the Mon- 
eths of May and June," 1507, on the Prin- 
cess Mary, as patroness of the Lists, has, 
of course, no connection with the old Eng- 
lish custom here illustrated. But it 
shews that the title was sufficiently 
popular at that time to tempt the 
author of the " Justes " to employ 
it for his own purposes. Hazlitt's 
Popular Poetry, ii, 109 et seqq. Much 
the same is to be predicated of the 
pretty pageant, which takes place annu- 
ally at Whitelands College, under the ini- 
tiative of the late Mr. Ruskin. 

Maypole. — Bourne, speaking of the 
first of May, tells us : " The after-part of 
the day is chiefly spent in dancing round 
a tall poll, which is called a May poll ; 
which being placed in a convenient part 
of the village, stands there, as it were 
consecrated to the Goddess of Flowers, 
without the least violation offered to it, 
in the whole circle of the year." The 
author of "The Way to Things by Words," 
&c., very properly points out, that May- 
pole is a pleonasm, for the French call 
the same thing the Mai. We are told by 
the same writer that the column of May 
(whence our May-pole) was the great 
standard of justice in the Ey-Commons or 
Fields of May. Here it was that the 
people, if they saw cause, deposed or pun- 
ished their governors, their barons, and 
their kings. The judge's bough or wand 
(at this time discontinued and only faintly 
represented by a trifling nosegay), and 
the staff or rod of authority in the civil 
and in the military (for it was the mace 
of civil power and the truncheon of the 
field officers), are both derived hence. 
Ixeysler, says Borlase, thinks that the 
custom of the Maypole took its rise from 
the earnest desire of tlie people to see 
their king, who seldom appearing at other 
times, made his procession at this time of 
year to the great assembly of the States 
held in the open air. In the "British 



Apollo," (it is said): "It was a custom 
among the ancient Britons, before con- 
verted to Christianity, to erect these May- 
poles, adorned with flowers, in honour of 
the Goddess Flora; and the dancing of 
the milk-maids may be only a corruption 
of that custom in complyance with the 
town." Tollett tells us, that the May 
Pole in his window " is painted yellow ana 
black, in spiral lines." Spelman's "Glos- 
sary " mentions the custom of erecting 
a tall May Pole, painted with various 
colours, and Shakespear, in " A Midsum- 
mer Night's Dream," act iii. sc. 2, speaks 
of a painted May Pole. Upon our pole 
(adds Mr. Tollett) are displayed St. 
George's red cross or the banner of Eng- 
land, and a white penon or streamer, 
emblazoned with a red cross, terminating 
like the blade of a sword ; but the delinea- 
tion thereof is much faded. Stukeley, in 
his " Itinerarium," 1724, p. 29, says: 
" There is a May Pole near Horn Castle, 
Lincolnshire, where probably stood an 
Hermes in Roman times. The boys a,nnu- 
ally keep up the festival of the Floralia on 
May Day, making a procession to this 
hill with May gads (as they call them) in 
their hands. This is a white willow wand, 
the bark peel'd off, ty'd round with cow- 
slips, a thyrsus of the Bacchanals. At 
night they have a bonefire, and other mer- 
riment, which is really a sacrifice, or reli- ■ 
gious festival." Borlase, speaking of the 
manners of the Cornish people, says: — 
" From towns they make excursions on 
May Eve into the country, cut down a 
tall elm, bring it into the town with re- 
joicings, and having fitted a straight 
taper pole to the end of it, and painted 
it, erect it in the most public part, and, 
upon holidays and festivals, dress it with 
garlands of flowers, or ensigns and 
streamers." Owen, in his "Welsh Dic- 
tionary," voce " Bedwin," a birch-tree, 
explains it also by " a May-pole, because 
it was always," he says, " made of birch. 
— It was customary to have games of vari- 
ous sorts round the Bed wen ; but the chief 
aim, and on which the fame of the village 
depended, was, to preserve it from being 
stolen away, as parties from other places 
were continually on the watch for an op- 
portunity ; who, if successful, had their 
feats recorded in songs on the occasion." 

It appears from a stage direction in the 
" Mountebanks' Masque " — " Paradox his 
Disciples, and the May-pole, all daunce " 
— that the latter was much like the modem 
"Jack in the Green," and formed, like 
it, the central figure in the dance. In an 
account of Parish Expences in Coates's 
" Hist, of Reading," p. 216, A.r. 1504, we 
have : " It. payed for felling and bryngy'g ' 
home of the bow (bough) set in the M'cat- ' 
place, for settyng up of the same, mete 
and drink, viii*." In the Chapel Warden's* 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



403 



Accounts of Brentford, under the year 
1623, is the following article: "Received 
for the May-pole, £1 4s." In North- 
hrooke's " Treatise against Dicing," &c., 
1577, is the following passage : ' ' What 
adoe make our yong men at the time of 
May? Bo they not vse nightwatchings to 
rob and steal yong trees out of other mens 
grounde, and bring them home into their 
parishe with minstrels playing before : 
and, when they haue set it vp, they will 
•decke it with iloures and garlandeSj and 
daunce round, (men and women togither, 
moste vnseemly and intolerable, as 1 haue 
proued before), about the tree, like vnto 
the children of Israeli that daunced about 
the golden calfe that they had set vp," &c. 
Stubbes, in his " Anatomie of Abuses," 
1583, says: "But their cheefest Jewell 
"they bring home from thence (the woods) 
is their Male poole, whiche they bring 
home with greate veneration, as thus. 
They have twentie or fourtie yoke of oxen, 
«very oxe havyng a sweete nosegaie or 
flowers tyed on the tippe of his homes, 
and these oxen drawe home this Maie 
poole, (this stinckyng idoU rather), which 
is covered all over with flowers and 
hearbes, bounde rounde aboute with 
stringes, from the top to the bottome, and 
sometyme painted with variable colours, 
■with two or three hundred men, women, 
and children foUowyng it, with greate de- 
votion. And thus beyng reared up, with 
iandkercheifes and flagges streamyng on 
the toppe, they strawe the ground aboute, 
binde greene boughes about it, sett up 
Sommer haules, bowers, and arbours hard 
by it. And then fall they to banquet and 
feast, to leaps and daunce aboute it, as 
the heathen people did at the dedication 
of their idoUes, whereof this is a perfect 

Eatterne, or rather the thyng itself." 
odge, in his " Wits Miserie," 1596, p. 
27, describing usury, says: "His spec- 
tacles hang beating . . . like the flag in 
the top of a May pole." James I. pub- 
lished his ordinance in respect to lawful 
sports, among which this is included, in 
1618, and by Charles I.'s warrant, dated 
Oct. 18. 1633, it had been similarly en- 
acted, that, " for his good peoples lawfull 
recreation, after the end of Divine Ser- 
vice, his good people be not disturbed, 
letted, or discouraged from any lawful! 
recreation : such as dancing, either men 
or women ; archery for men, leaping, 
vaulting, or any other such harmless re- 
creations ; nor from having of May games, 
Whitson Ales, and Morris dances, and 
the setting up of May poles, and other 
sports therewith used ; so as the same be 
had in due and convenient time, without 
impediment or neglect of Divine Service. 
And that women shall have leave to carry 
rushes to the church, for the decorating of 
it, according to their old custom. But 



with all his Majesty doth hereby account 
still as prohibited, all unlawful games to 
be used on Sundays only, as bear and bull- 
baitings, interludes, and, at all times in 
the meaner sort of people by law pro- 
hibited, bowling." — Harris's Life. of 
Charles I., p. 48, note. It was against 
this royal manifesto that Henry Burton 
directed his Judgments upon Sabhath- 
Brcakers, 1641 — an evidence of the in- 
creasing power of the Puritans. Here 
we of course find many particulars about 
May-games and the May-pole : — 

" At Dartmouth, 1634, upon the coming 
forth and publishing of the ' Book of 
Sports,' a company of youkers, on May- 
day morning, before day, went into the 
country to fetch home a May-pole with 
drumme and trumpet, whereat tne neigh- 
bouring inhabitants were affrighted, sup- 
posing some enemies had landed to sack 
them. The pole being thus brought home, 
and set up, they began to drink healths 
about it, till they could not stand so steady 
as the pole did : whereupon the mayor 
and justice bound the ringleaders over to 
the sessions ; whereupon, these complain- 
ing to the Archbishop's Vicar-generall, 
then in his visitation, he prohibited the 
justices to proceed against them in regard 
of the King's Book. But the justices ac- 
quainted him they did it for their disorder 
in transgressing the bounds of the book. 
Hereupon, these libertines scorning at 
authority, one of them fell suddenly into 
a consumption, whereof he shortly after 
died. Now, although this revelling was 
not on the Lord's Day, yet being upon any 
other day, and especially May-day, the 
May-pole set up thereon giving occasion 
to the prophanation of the Lord's Day 
the whole year after, it was sufficient to 
provoke God to send plagues and judg- 
ments among them." The greater part 
of the examples are levelled at summer- 
poles. By an ordinance of the Long Par- 
liament, in April 1644, among other refer- 
ences, all May poles were taken down, 
and removed by the constables, church- 
wardens, &o. The ordinance states: — 
" And because the prophanation of the 
Lords Day hath been heretofore greatly 
occasioned by May-poles (a heathenish 
vanity, generally abused to superstition 
and wickedness), the Lords and Commons 
do further order and ordain, that all and 
singular Maypoles, that are, or shall be 
erected, shall oe taken down and removed 
by the Constables, Borsholders, Tything 
men, petty Constables, and Church War- 
dens of the parishes and places where the 
same be; and that no May pole shall be 
hereafter set up, erected, or suffered to 
be within this Kingdome of England or 
Dominion of Wales." — Die Sabbathi, 6 
April, 1644. The officers were to be fined 
five shillings weekly, till the poles were 



404 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



removed. Husband's " Collection," 1646, 

E. 479. During a long succession of years, 
owever, notwithstanding the Puritan 
antipathy to them. May-poles continued 
to ilourish, and to be a favourite feature 
in the May sports. William Pennor, in 
his PasguiVs Palinodia, 1619, has left us 
a curious description of this object and 
usage : 

" Fairely we marched on, till our ap- 
proach 
Within the spacious passage of the 
Strand, 

Objected to our sight a summer-broach, 
Ycleap'd a May Pole, which, in all 
our land. 

No city, towne, nor streete can parallel. 

Nor can the lofty spire of Clarken-well, 

Although we have the advantage of a 
rocke, 

Pearch up more high his turning 
weather-cock. 

" Stay, quoth my Muse, and here be- 
hold a signe 

Of harmlesse mirth and honest neigh- 
bourhood. 

Where all the parish did in one combine 
To mount the rod of peace, and none 
withstood : 

When no capritious constables disturb 
them, 

Nor justice of the peace did seek to curb 
them. 

Nor peevish puritan, in rayling sort. 

Nor over-wise church-warden, spoyl'd 
the sport. 

" Happy the age, and harmlesse were 
the dayes, 
(For then true love and amity was 
found), 

When every village did a Maypole raise. 
And Whitson-ales and May-games did 
abound : 

And all the lusty yonkers, in a rout, 

With merry lasses daunc'd the rod 
about. 

Then Friendship to their banquets bid 
the guests. 

And poore men far'd the better for their 
feasts. 

"The lords of castles, manners, townes, 
and towers, 
Rejoic'd when they beheld the farm- 
ers flourish. 

And would come downe unto the sum- 
mer bowers 

To see the country gallants dance the 
Morrice. 

" But since the Summer poles were over- 
thrown. 
An all good sports and merriments 
decay'd. 

How times and men are chang'd, so 
well is knowne. 



It were but labour lost if more were 
said. 

"Alas, poore May Poles; what should 

be tne cause 
That you were almost banish'd from 

the earth? 
Who never were rebellious to the lawes ; 
Your greatest crime was harmlesse, 

honest mirth : 
What fell malignant spirit was there 

found. 
To cast your tall Pyramides to ground 
To be some envious nature it appeares. 
That men might fall together by the 

eares. 

" Some fiery, zealous brother, full of 
spleene, 
That all the worlde in his deepe "wis- 
dom scornes, 
Could not endure the May-pole should 
be scene 
To weare a coxe-combe higher than 
his homes : 
He took it for an idoU, and the feast 
For sacrifice unto that painted beast; 
Or for the wooden Trojan asse of sinne. 
By which the wicked jnerry Greeks 
came in. 

" But I doe hope once more the day 

will come. 
That you shall mount and pearch your 

cocks as high 
As ere you did, and that the pipe and 

drum 
Shall bid defiance to your enemy ; 
And that all fidlers, which in corners 

lurke. 
And have been almost starv'd for want 

of work. 
Shall draw their crowds, and, at your 

exaltation. 
Play many a fit of merry recreation. 

" And you, my native town, which was, 

of old, 
(When as thy bonfires burn'd and 

May-poles stood. 
And when thy wassall-cups were uncon- 

trol'd). 
The summer bower of peace and 

neighbourhood. 
Although, since these went down, thou 

lyst forlorn. 
By factious schismes and humours over- 
borne. 
Some able hand I hope thy rod will 

raise. 
That tnou mayst see once more thy 

happy daies." 

In "The Honestie of this Age," by 
Barnabe Rych, 4to. Lond. 1615, p. 5, i» 
the following passage: "the country 
swaine, that will sweare more on Sundaies, , 



AJ^D POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



405 



dancing about a May pole, then he will 
doe all the week after at his work, will 
have a cast at me." "This day shall be 
erected long wooden idols, called May- 
poles; whereat many greasie churles shall 
murmure, that will not bestow so much as 
a faggot sticke towards the warming of 
the poore : an humour that, while it 
seemes to smell of conscience, favours in- 
deed of nothing but covetousnesse." — Vox 
Gracidi, 1623. It is to be suspected, never- 
theless, that, as Cromwell's personal as- 
cendancy asserted itself, greater tolerance 
prevailed. There are in a volume printed 
in 1657, called "Wit a-Sporting," by 
Henry Bold, some verses, which were not 
improbably conveyed from an earlier 
writer (much of his matter was stolen 
from Herrick) : 

" The May Pule. 
" The May Pole is up, 
Now give me the cup, 
I'll drink to the garlands around it, 
But first unto those 
Whose hands did compose 
The glory of flowers that crown'd it." 
After the Restoration, May poles were 
permitted to return. Hall, however, pro- 
tested against this revival in his " Fune- 
bria Florse, the Downfall of May Games," 
1660. At the end is a copy of verses (in 
which he makes the May-pole recapitulate 
proprid persond) the evils with which his 
introduction was fraught to the cause of 
religion and morality. Another copy of 
the verses is to be found in Harl. MS., 
1221, and is there entitled: "A May 
Pooles Speech to a Traveller." Possibly 
the lines were merely appropriated by 
Hall. The May-Pole is made to say : 
"I have a mighty retinue. 
The scum of all the raskall crew 
Of fidlers, pedlers, jayle-scap't slaves, 
Of tinkers, turn-coats, tospot knaves, 
Of theeves and scape-thrifts many a one. 
With bouncing Besse, and jolly Jone, 
With idle boyes, and journey-men. 
And vagrants that their country run ; 
Yea, hobby-horse doth hither prance, 
Maid-Marrian and the Morrice-dance. 
My summons fetcheth, far and near. 
All that can swagger, roar, and swear, 
All that can dance, and drab and drink, 
They run to mee as to a sink. 
These mee for their commander take, 
And I do them my blackguard make. 
The honour of the Sabbath-day 
My dancing-greens have ta'en away, 
Let preachers prate till they grow wood. 
Where I am they can do no good." 
At page 10, Hall says: "The most of 
these May-poles are stoUen, yet they give 
out that the poles are given them." — 
" There were two May-poles set up in my 
parish (King's-Norton) ; the one was stol- 
len, and the other was given by a profest 



papist. That which was atollen was said 
to be given, when 'twas proved to their 
faces that twas stolleu, and they were 
made to acknowledge their offence. 'This 
pole that was stoUen was rated at five 
shillings : if all the poles one with another 
were so rated, which were stollen this 
May, what a considerable sum would it 
amount to ! Fightings and bloodshed are 
usual at such meetings, insomuch that 'tis 
a common saying, that 'tis no festival un- 
less there bee some fighting." " If Moses 
were angry," he says in another page, 
"when he saw the people dance about a 
golden calf, well may we be angry to see 
people dancing the morrice about a post 
in honour of a whore, as you shall see 
anon." "Had this rudeness," he adds, 
" been acted only in some ignorant and 
obscure parts of the land, I had been 
silent ; but when I perceived that the com- 
jplaints were general from all parts of the 
land, and that even in Cheapside itself 
the rude rabble had set up this ensign of 
prophaneness, and had put the lord-mayor 
to the trouble of seeing it pulled down, I 
could not, out of my dearest respects and 
tender compassion to the land of^my nati- 
vity, and for the prevention of the like 
disorders (if possible) for the future, but 
put pen to paper, and discover the sinful 
rise and vile prophaneness that attend 
such misrule." In "The Lord's Loud 
Call to England," published by H. Jessey, 
1660, there is given part of a letter from 
one of the Puritan party in the North, 
dated "Newcastle, 7th of May, 1660": 
" Sir, the countrey, as well as the town, 
abounds with vanities ; now the reins of 
liberty and licentiousness are let loose : 
May-poles, and players, and juglers, and 
all things else, now pass current. Sin 
now appears with a brazen face," &c. 
But the resistance and exposure were 
vain. The May-pole was never again sup- 
pressed, till modern feeling operated 
against it. Pepys notes the erection of 
the Strand May-pole under date of June 
1, 1663. The Rural Dance about the May- 
pole, and the tune to which the first figure 
is danced at Mr. Young's ball. May, 1671, 
is described in " Westminster Drollery," 
1671 : 

" Come lasses and lads, take leave of 
your dads. 
And away to the May-pole hie; 

For every he has got him a she. 
And the minstrel's standing by. 

For Willy has gotten his Jill, and 
Johnny has got his Joan. 

To jig it, jig it, jig it, jig up and down. 

" Strike up, says Wat. Agreed, says 

Kate, 
And, I prithee, fidler, play ; 
Content, says Hodge, and so says 

Madge, 



4o6 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



For this is a holiday ! 
Then every man did put his hat off to 

his lass, 
And every girl did curchy, curchy, 

curchy on the grass. 

" Begin, says Hall. Aye, aye, says 
Mall, 
We'll lead up Packington's Pound : 
No, no, says Noll. And so, says Doll, 

We'll first have Sellenger's Round. 
Then every man began to foot it round 

about, 
And every girl did jet it, jet it, jet 
it, in and out. 

" You're out, says Dick. "lis a lie, says 
Nick; 
The fiddler played it false : 
'Tis true, says Hugh ; and so says Sue, 

And so says nimble Alee. 
The fiddler then began to play the tune 

again. 
And every girl did trip it, trip it, trip 
it to the men." 

A shorter version of this is given by 
Rimbault, in his Booh of Songs and Bal- 
lads, 1851. Shakespear makes dancers 
kiss: 

" Come unto these yellow sands. 

And then join hands. 

Curtsied when you have, and kist, 

The wild waves wist 1 " 

In " Polwart on the Green," we have at 
the very commencement (1 quote from 
"Orpheus Caledonius," 1733): 

" At Polwart on the Green, 

If you'll meet me the morn. 
Where lasses do convene. 

To dance about the thorn ; 
A kindly welcome you shall meet 

Frae her who likes to view 
A lover and a lad complete. 

The lad and lover you." 

"The Mayings," says Strutt, " are in 
some sort yet kept up by the milk-maids 
at London, who go about the streets with 
their garlands and music, dancing ; but 
this tracing is a very imperfect shadow of 
the original sports ; for May-poles were set 
up in the streets, with various martial 
shows, Morris dancing and other devices, 
with which, and revelling, and good chear, 
the day was passed away. At night they 
rejoiced, anci lighted up their bonfires." 
" Manners and Customs," vol. ii. p. 99. 
The young chimney-sweepers, some of 
whom are fantastically dressed in girls' 
clothes, with a great profusion of brick- 
dust by way of paint, gilt paper, &c., 
making a noise with their shovels and 
brushes, were long the most striking ob- 
jects in the celebration of May Day in the 
streets of LoTidon. But the May-pole, and 
the May customs generally, are now almost 



quite neglected in London and other great 

Consult Vossius " De Orig. & Prog. 
Idolatris8," lib. ii. Spelman's Glossary, 
1687, V. "Maiuma," Ducange, v. " Ma- 
iuma," and Carpentier's "Glossary," v. 
" Malum." 

Meadow Verse. — To the Harvest 
festivities must be referred the Meadow 
Verse. In Herrick's "Hesperides," 1648, 
p. 161, we have : 

" The meadow Verse, or Anniversary, 

to Mistris Bridget Lowman. 
" Come with the Spring-time forth, fair 

Maid, and be 
This year again the Meadows Deity. 
Yet ere ye enter, give us leave to set 
Upon your head this flowry coronet; 
To make this neat distinction from the 

rest. 
You are the Prime, and Princesse of 

the feast : 
To which with silver feet lead you the 

way. 
While sweet-breath nimphs attend you 

on this day. 
This is your houre; and best you may 

command, 
Since you are Lady of this fairie land. 
Full mirth wait on you, and such mirth 

as shall 
Cherrish the cheek, but make none 
blush at all. 

The Parting Verse, the Feast there 

ended. 
Loth to depart, but yet at last, each one 
Back now must go to's habitation : 
Not knowing thus much, when we once 

do sever, 
Whether or no, that we shall meet here 

ever." 

"If fates do give 

Me longer date, and more fresh springs 

to live. 
Oft as your field shall her old age renew, 
Herrick shall make the meddow-verse 

for you." 

Medard, St. — "I had always imag- 
ined that St. Medard was the rainy saint 
of France, and St. Godelieve the St. 
Swithin of Flanders. In France the popu- 
lar saying is : 

" S'il pleut le jour de la Saint Medard 
II pleut quarante jours plus tard." 
St. Medard, however, unlike St. Swithin, 
has not absolute control over the weather 
at this season, his decision being subject 
to that of St. Barnabe, whoso fete day 
falls three days later, the 11th of June; 
and even should these two saints combine 
to bring terror to the heart of the agricul- 
turist, there is a forlorn hope left, for SS, 
Gervais and Protais, whose fete day is on 
the 19th of the month, may yet ordain, 
that the weather shall be fine. The Jour- 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



407 



nal de Soubaix of the 11th of June quotes 
the following lines anent this super- 
stition : 

' Quand il pleut a la Saint Medard, 
Prends ton manteau sans nul retard : 
Mais s'il fait beau pour Barnabe, 
Qui va lui oouper I'herbe sous le pied, 
Ton manteau chez toi pent raster. 
Enfin, s'il pleut ces deux jours, 
Si Medard et Barnabe, comme toujours, 
S'entendaient pour te jouer des tours, 
Tu auras encore Saint Gervais, 
Acoompagne de Saint Protais, 
Que le beau temps va ramener.' 

The legend runs that St. Medard was one 
day crossing a plain when a drenching 
shower fell. Every one was wetted to the 
skin except the saint, over whom an eagle 
spread its wings as a shelter." (?. Pcr- 
ratt in Notes and Queries. 

Mell-Sheaf — The last leaf of the 
harvest was called the Mell-Sheaf, and 
says Mr. Atkinson, "used to be formed, 
on finishing the reaping, with much ob- 
servance, and care." He adds, that it 
"was frequently made of such dimensions 
as to be a heavy load for a man, and 
within a few years comparatively was 
proposed as the prize to be won in a race 
of old women. In other cases, it was 
carefully preserved, and set up in some 
■conspicuous place in the farm-house." 
Cleveland Glossary, 1868. 

Mell-Supper.— The Mell-Supper, 
the entertainment usual after harvest, is 
derived from Mehl, farina or meal, as is 
proposed by Dr. Pegge in a letter to Mr. 
Brand of Aug. 12, 1786. Nares, Glossary, 
€d. 1859, v. Mell-Supper. In the "Life of 
Eugene Aram," 1759, there is an Essay on 
" The Mell-Supper, and shouting the 
Churn," by that extraordinary man. 
Bread, or cakes, he says, composed part of 
the Hebrew offering, as appears by Levi- 
ticus,xxiii. 13 ; and we gather from Homer 
in the first Book of his "Iliad," that a 
cake thrown upon the head of the victim 
was also part of the Greek offering to 
Apollo. Apollo, continues Aram, losing his 
divinity on the progress of Christianity, 
what had been anciently offered to the 
god, the reapers as prudently eat up them- 
selves. At last the use of the meal of new 
corn was neglected, and the supper, so 
far as the meal was concerned, was made 
indifferently of old or new corn, as was 
most agreeable to the founder. He adds, 
as the harvest was last concluded with 
several preparations of meal, or brought to 
be ready for the mell, this term became, 
in a translated signification, to mean the 
last of other things ; as when a horse came 
last in the race, they often say in the 
North, he has got the mell." 



Mensa Paschae— " The month or 
quinzaine of Easter, i.e. the eight days 
preceding and the eight days following 
Easter Day." Plumpton Correspondence 
under 1476, p. 37, Note. Robinet Plump- 
ton, writing to Sir William Plumpton, 1 
April, 1476, says: "And for the Day of 
Appearance of Ailmer wyfe, is mense 
Puske ; so that she be here the morrow 
after Mense Paslce." 

Mercheta Mulierum. — " Mer- 
chet," says Tomline in his Law Dictionary, 
1835, "was a fine or composition paid by 
inferior tenants to the lord, for liberty to 
dispose of their daughters in marriage. 
No baron or military tenant could marry 
his sole daughter and heir, without such 
leave purchased from the king, pro mari- 
tandd filiu ; and many of our servile ten- 
ants could neither send their sons to school 
nor give their daughters in marriage, 
without express licence from their supe- 
rior lord." Freemen were not, it seems, 
liable to this mercheta, at least in all 
cases. " Mercheta," observes Whitaker, 
"is certainly British. This term, which 
has given rise to that fiction of folly in 
the best histories of Scotland, that the 
lord had a privilege to sleep with the bride 
of his vassal on her wedding night. . . is 
apparently nothing more than the merch- 
ed of Howel-Dhu, the daughterhood or 
the fine for the marriage of a daughter." 
This view is supported by the passage 
quoted by Brand himself from one of the 
Cottonian MSS. " Rentale de Tynemuth, 
factum A.D. 1378. — Omnes Tenentes de 
Tynemouth cum contigerit, solvent Lay- 
rewite filiabus vel Ancillis suis et etiam 
Merchet pro filiabus suis maritandis." 
Vitellius, E. 5. Buchanan testifies to the 
prevalence of this usage in Scot- 
land under a law of King Eugenius 
(perhaps Eugenius III.) in its original 
form, and tells us that a later prince in 
the eleventh century, yielding to the pray- 
ers of his consort, first sanctioned a pecu- 
niary commutation in the shape of half a 
mark of silver ; but whether this was a 
coin or a measiire of weight, seems uncer- 
tain. Rerum Scoticarum Ilistoria, 1582. 
The present Editor has the impression 
that this mercheta was at the outset both 
here and elsewhere an incidence of serf- 
dom, that it was subsequently commuted 
by a fine, but that, as I have shown in my 
Blount, a freeman could plead exemption 
even from the latter. But I believe that in 
Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, the prac- 
tice, like every other relic of antiquity, 
lingered much longer, and that the com- 
mutation was not so great, or the line of 
distinction so clearly defined : and the 
laxity in this respect, when the laws of 
property began to assert themselves, may 
have had something to do with the dis- 
credit cast on the first issue of a marriage 



4o8 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



among the lower class, and the tendency 
to favour the second son in testamentary 
dispositions. It has been said that there 
was a similar usage in Germany, whence 
indeed the English may have derived it. 
There is a publication, which the writer 
has not seen, entitled: "Les Nuits d'Ep- 
reuve des Villageoises Allemandes avant 
le mariage," small 8°, Bruxelles, 1877, 
probably one of those meretricious and 
silly books, which are worse than useless. 
Compare Maritagium supra and Haz- 
litt's Blount, 1874, p. 433. 

Meretrix. — See Whores, Punish- 
ment of. 

Meritot, Shugrey - Shaw or 
Swings. — Speght, in his " Glossary to 
Chaucer," says: " Meritot, in Chaucer, 
a sport used by children by swinging them- 
selves in bell-ropes, or such-like, till they 
are giddy. In Latin it is called Oscillum, 
and is thus described by an old writer : 
" Oscillum est genus ludi, scilicet cum 
funis dependitur be trabe, in quo pueri 
& puellse sedentes impelluntur hue et 
illuc." This sport is described as follows 
by Gay : 

"On two near elms, the slacken'd cord 
I hung, 

Now high, now low, my Blouzalinda 
swung." 
So Rogers : 

" Soar'd in the swing, half-pleas'd and 
half afraid. 

Thro' sister elms that wav'd their sum- 
mer shade." 
See Halliwell in v. 

Merry Andrew. — Pennant, in his 
" Zoology," tells us : " It is very singular 
that most nations give the name of their 
favourite dish to the facetious attendant 
on every mountebank ; thus the Dutch 
call him Pickle Herring, the Italians 
Macaroni, the French Jean Potage, the 
German Hans Wurst, i.e.. Jack Saus- 
age ; and we dignify him with the title of 
Jack Pudding." It has been conjectured 
(with no particular probability) that An- 
drew Borde, the facetious physician of 
Henry the Eighth's time, was the original 
Merry Andrew. 

Merry-trotter. — Corrupted from 
meritot, a swing. See above. 

Michaelmas. — Michaelmas, says 
Bailey, is a festival appointed by the 
Church to be observed in honour of St. 
Michael the Arch-angel, who is supposed 
to be the chief of the Host of Heaven, 
as Lucifer is of the infernal [one], and as 
he was supposed to be the protector of the 
Jewish, so is he now esteemed the guar- 
dian and defender of the Christian 
Church. In the "Observations on Days 
in the Romish Calendar," I find on St. 
Michael's Day the following : 



" Arx tonat in gratiam tutelari 
Numinis," 

which I translate : 

" Cannon is fired from the citade 
in honour of the tutelar saint." 

It has long been and still continues th 
custom at this time of the year, or there 
abouts, to elect the governors of town 
and cities, the civil guardians of the peac 
of men, perhaps, as Bourne supposes, be 
cause the feast of angels naturally enougl 
brings to our minds the old opinion o 
tutelar spirits, who have, or are though 
to have, the particular charge of certaii 
bodies of men, or districts of country, a 
also that every man has his guardian an 
gel, who attends him from the cradle ti 
the grave, from the moment of his comin] 
in to his going out of life. Hi 
appearance in Cornwall on the Moun 
which bears his name in the fifth, or ac 
cording to others in the eighth, centur; 
is a matter of local tradition. Pengelly 
Antiquity of Man in the South Wes 
of England, 1887, p. 13. 

A red velvet buckler was formerl; 
preserved in a castle in Normandy 
which the Arch-angel made use of, whei 
he combated the Dragon. At Mont St 
Michel in Brittany Michaelmas Day i 
of course the grand anniversary, when th 
Bishop of the diocese comes over, an< 
thousands of persons visit the spot. Bu 
on the Saint's Vigil there is an interest 
ing and impressive ceremony in the even 
ing, the priests and choristers forming ii 
procession in the town below, and wind 
ing up the ascent to the church witl 
lighted candles, singing hymns. A set 
vice succeeds. 

Michaelmas Goose. — There i 
an old custom still in use among us, o 
having a roast goose to dinner on Michael 
mas Day. Beckwith says: " ProbaU; 
no other reason can be given for this cus 
tom but that Michaelmas Day was 
great festival, and geese at that time mos 
plentiful. In Denmark, where the hai 
vest is later, every family has a, roaste 
goose for supper on St. Martin's Eve." 

Moresin refers the great doings on thi 
occasion, which, he says, were common t 
almost all Europe in his time, to an at 
cient Athenian festival observed in honou 
of Bacchus, upon the eleventh, twelfth 
and thirteenth days of the month Anthei 
terion, corresponding with our Novembei 
Aubanus seems to confirm this conjee 
ture, though there is no mention of ti 
slaughter of any animal in the descrij 
tion of the rites of the Grecian festiva 
It is observable that the fatted goosi 
so common in England at Michae 
mas, is, by the above foreign authors an 
others, marked as one of the delicacies i 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



409 



common use at every table on the conti- 
nent at Martinmas. Walpole, in "The 
World,;' No. 10, tells us : " AVhen the re- 
formation of the Calendar was in agita- 
tion, to the great disgust of many worthy 
persons who urged how great the har- 
mony was in the old establishment be- 
tween the holidays and their attributes 
(if I may call them so), and what confu- 
sion would follow if Michaelmas Day, for 
instance, was not to be celebrated when 
stubble-geese are in their highest perfec- 
tion ; it was replied, that such a propriety 
was merely imaginary, and would be lost 
of itself, even without alteration of the 
calendar by authority : for if the errors 
in it were suffered to go on, they would 
in a certain number of years produce such 
a variation, that we should be mourning 
for good King Charles on a false thirtieth 
of January, at a time of year when our 
ancestors used to be tumbling over head 
and heels in Greenwich Park in honour 
of Whitsuntide : and at length be choos- 
ing king and queen for Twelfth Night, 
when we ought to be admiring the London 
Prentice at Bartholomew Fair." 

Among other services John de la 
Hay was bound (10 Edw. IV.) to render 
to William Barnaby, Lord of Lastres, in 
the county of Hereford, for a parcel of 
the demesne lands, one goose fit for the 
lord's dinner on the Feast of St. Michael 
the Archangel. Blount's Tenures, ed. 
1874, p. 188. In Deering's " Notting- 
ham," p. 107, mention occurs of "hot 
roasteJ geese " having formerly been 
given on Michaelmas Day there by 
the old Mayor, in the morning, at his 
house, previous to the election of the new 
one. Queen Elizabeth is said to 
have been dining on this dish, no doubt 
in her time perfectly usual as it is with 
us, when she received tidings of the des- 
truction of the Armada. I append 
a group of literary notices or allusions. 
In Gasooigne's Poems is the following 
passage : 

" And when the tenauntes come to paie 

their quarters rent. 
They bring some fowle at Midsummer, 

a dish of fish in Lent, 
At Christmasse a capon, at Michaelmas 

a goose ; 
And somewhat else at New-yeres tide, 

for fearo their lease Hie loose." 

In " A Health to the Gentlemanly Profes- 
sion of Serving-men," by J. M., 1598, 
signat. I 2, is the following passage : 
" He knoweth where to haue a man .... 
that will stande him in lesse charge. . . . 
his neighbours Sonne, who will not onely 
maynteine him selfe with all necessaries, 
but also his father will gratifie his mais- 
ters kindnes at Christmas with a New- 
yeeres gyft, and at other festiuall times 



with pigge, goose, capon, or other such 
like householde prouision." It appears 
by the context that the father of the serv- 
ing-man does this to keep his son from 
going to serve abroad as a soldier. Buttes, 
in his " Dyets dry Dinner," 1599, saya 
that " a goose is the emblem of meere 
modestie." 

" Geese now in their prime season are. 
Which, if well roasted, are good fare : 
Yet, however, friends, take heed 
How too much on them you feed, 
Lest, when as your tongues run loose. 
Your discourse do smell of goose." 

Poor Bobin for 1695. According to the 
"British Apollo," 1708 : 

" The custom came up from the tenants 

presenting 
Their landlords with geese, to incline 

their relenting 
On following payments." 

In King's "Art of Cookery," p. 63, we 
read : 

" So stubble geese at Michaelmas are 

seen 
Upon the spit; next May produces 

green." 
" September, when by custom (right 

divine) 
Geese are ordain'd to bleed at Michael's 

shrine." 

— Churchill. It is a popular saying, " If 
you eat goose on Michaelmas Day you 
will never want money all the year 
round." The practice of eating goose at 
Michaelmas does not appear to prevail in 
any part of France. Upon St. Martin's 
Day they eat turkeys at Paris. They 
likewise eat geese upon St. Martin's Day, 
Twelfth Day, and Shrove Tuesday, there. 
Green geese form a common sum- 
mer dish at the Inns of Court and else- 
where. Comp. Harvest-Home, 

Michael's, St., Cake or Ban- 
nock, — Martin, speaking of the Pro- 
testant inhabitants of Skie, says: "They 
observe the festivals of Christmas, Easter, 
Good Friday, and that of St. Michael's. 
Upon the latter they have a cavalcade in 
each parish, and several families bake the 
cake called St. Michael's Bannock." 
Western Islands of Scotland, p. 213. 
Speaking of Kilbar Village, he observes ; 
" They have likewise a general cavalcade 
on St. Michael's Day in Kilbar Village, 
and do then also take a turn round their 
church. Every family, as soon as the 
solemnity is ended, is accustomed to bake 
St. Michael's Cake, and all strangers, to- 
gether with those of the family, must eat 
the bread that night." Ibid. 100. Macau- 
lay, in his History of St. Kilda, p. 82, 
says; "It was, till of late, an universal 
custom among the Islanders, on Michael- 



410 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



mas Day, to prepare in every family a 
loaf or cake of bread^ enormously large, 
and compounded of different ingredients. 
This cake belonged to the Arch-Angel, 
and had its name from him. Every one 
in each family, whether strangers or do- 
mestics, had his portion of this kind of 
shew-bread, and had, of course, some title 
to the friendship and protection of 
Michael." 

Middle Temple. — See Lord of 
Misrule. 

Mid-Lent Sunday. — The fourth 
Sunday in Lent, says "Wheatley "on the 
Common Prayer," {8vo. Lond. 1741, p. 
227) is generally called Mid-Lent, "though 
Bishop Sparrow, and some others, term 
it Dominica Refectionis, the Sunday of 
Refreshment : the reason of which, I sup- 
pose, is the gospel for the day, which 
treats of our Saviour's miraculously feed- 
ing five thousand ; or else, perhaps from 
the first lesson in the morning, which 
gives us the story of Joseph's entertaining 
his brethren." He is of opinion that 
"the appointment of these scriptures upon 
this day might probably give the first 
rise to a custom still retained in many 
parts of England, and well known by the 
name of Mid-lenting or Mothering." I 
find in Kelham's " Dictionary of the Nor- 
man or old French language," Mid-Lent 
Sunday, Dominica Refectionis, is called 
" Basques Charnieulx." In the Household 
Roll of 18 Edward I., is the following 
item on Mid-lent Sunday : 

" Pro pisis jd." 

The question is, whether these peas were 
substitutes for furmenty, or Carlings 
which are eaten at present in the North 
of England on the following Sunday, com- 
monly called Passion Sunday, but by the 
vulgar in those parts Carling Sunday. 
Aubanus speaks of a practice in Fran- 
conia of eating milk peas and dried 
pears on this dav, but it was, according 
to him, only partial. It is also called Pas- 
sion Sunday and Care or Carling Sunday 
in some old Almanacks. 

Midsummer Ale.^ — In Marmion's 
" Antiquary," 1641, act 4, is the following 
passage: "A merry world the while, my 
boy and I, next Midsommer Ale, I may 
serve for a fool, and he for Maid Marian." 

Midsummer Day. — Hutchinson 
mentions a custom used on this day ; it 
is, " to dress out stools with a cushion of 
flowers. A layer of clay is placed on the 
stool, and therein is stuck with great re- 
gularity an arrangement of all kinds of 
flowers, so close as to form a beautiful 
cushion. These are exhibited at the doors 
of houses in the villages, and at the ends 
of streets and cross-lanes of larger towns," 
(this custom is very prevalent in the city 



of Durham), " where the attendants beg 
money from passengers, to enable them 
to have an evening feast and dancing." 
He adds : ' ' This custom is evidently de- 
rived from the Ludi Compitalii of the 
Romans ; this appellation was taken from 
the Compita or cross lanes, where they 
were instituted and celebrated by the 
multitude assembled before the building 
of Rome. Servius Tullius revived this 
festival after it had been neglected for 
many years. It was the Feast of the 
Lares or Household Gods, who presided 
as well over houses as streets. This mode 
of adorning the seat or couch of the Lares 
was beautiful, and the idea of reposing 
them on aroniatic flowers, and beds of 
roses, was excellent. — We are not told 
there was any custom among the Romans 
of strangers or passengers offering gifts. 
Our modern usage of all these old customs 
terminates in seeking to gain money for 
a merry night." 

Midsummer Eve. — Aubrey, who 
is followed by Grose almost word for 
word, tells us, " that any person fasting 
on Midsummer Eve, and sitting in the 
church porch will, at midnight, see the 
spirits of the persons of that parish who 
will die that year, come and knock at the 
church door, in the order and succession 
in which they will die. One of these 
watchers, there being several in company, 
fell into a sound sleep, so that he could 
not be waked. Whilst in this state, his 

fhost or spirit was seen by the rest of 
is companions knocking at the church 
door." Grose says: "Any unmarried 
woman fasting on Midsummer Eve, and 
at midnight laying a clean cloth, with 
bread, cheese, and ale, and sitting down 
as if going to eat, the street door being 
left open, the person whom she is after- 
wards to marry will come into the room 
and drink to her by bowing ; and after 
filling the glass will leave it on the table, 
and, making another bow, retires. The 
Connoisseur, No. 56, fixes the time for 
watching in the church porch on Midsum- 
mer Eve : "I am sure my own sister 
Hetty, who died just before Christmas, 
stood in the church porch last Midsummer 
Eve, to see all that were to die that year 
in the parish ; and she saw her own ap- 
parition." This superstition was more 
generally practiced, and, I believe, is still 
retained in many parts, on the Eve of St. 
Mark. 

Midsummer Fires. — Sometimes 
the ceremony was postponed by reason of 
the inclement weather ; but it seems that 
at Whalton in Northumberland it has been 
customary to carry out the observance on 
July 4. Ths was done in 1903. Anii- 
guary, January, 1904. See St. John's 
Eve. 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



411 



Midsummer Men. — See Orpine. 
Midsummer Pageants. — Put- 

tenham speaks of " Midsommer Pageants 
in London, where, to make the people 
wonder, are set forth great and uglie 
gyants marching as if they were alive, 
and armed at all points, but within they 
are stuffed full of browne paper and tow, 
which the shrewd boyes, underpeering do 
guilefully discover and turne to a greate 
derision." Arte of English Poesie, 1589, 
p. 128. Compare Gog and Magog. 

Midsummer Watch — Niccols 
at p. 97 of his London's Artillery, 1616, 
observes: "King Henrie VIII., approv- 
ing this marching watch, as an auncient 
commendable oustome of this cittie, lest 
it should decay thro' neglect or covetous- 
nesse, in the first 3'eare of his reign, came 
privately disguised in one of his guards 
coates into Cheape, on Midsummer Even, 
and seeing the same at that time per- 
formed to his content, to countenance it, 
and make it more glorious by the pre- 
sence of his person, came after on St. 
Peter's Even, with Queen Katherine, at- 
tended by a noble traine, riding in royall 
state to the Kings-heade in Cheape, there 
to behold the same ; and after, anno 15 of 
his reigne, Christerne, King of Denmark, 
with his Queene, being then in England, 
T;as conducted through the cittie to the 
King's-heade, in Cheape, there to see the 
same." We read, in one of the Breviat 
Chronicles, printed by John Byddell, un- 
der the year 1527: "This yere was the 
swoatinge sicknesse, for the which cause 
there was no watche at Mydsommer." See 
also Grafton's " Chronicle," p. 1290, in 
ann. 1547, when the watch appears to 
have been kept both on St. John Baptist's 
Eve and on that of St. Peter. The Mid- 
summer Watch was perhaps organised in 
connection with the festive or religious 
observances of the time. The charge on 
the City grew so heavy, that the usage 
was gradually discontinued. 

Miller. — There is a kind of large white 
moth, popularly known in Somersetshire 
as the miller, which the children persecute 
in expiation of the supposed delinquen- 
cies of his namesake. They usually sing 
the following rhyme over the doomed in- 
sect, before they dispatch him : 

" Millery ! Millery ! Dousty-poll ! 
How many sacks hast thou stole?" 

— Notes and Queries, 1st Series, iii., 133. 
Compare Strickler. 

Miller's Eye, putting: out the. 

— This expression is held to apply to the 
over-wetting of meal for bread or paste. 
See Hazlitt's Proverbs, 1882, p. 444. Miss 
Baker observes, that the phrase has no 
leference to the eye of a miller, but prob- 



ably refers to that part of the machinery 
of a mill termed the mill-eye. North- 
amptonshire Qlossary, 1854, ii., 21. To 
drown the miller is a well-understood ex- 
pression at present for weakening unduly 
any spirituous beverage. 

Miller's Golden Thumb.— In 
Chaucer, the Miller is thus described : 

" Well couth he steale corne and told it 

thrise, 
And yet he had a thombe of gold parde. 
A white coate and a blew hode weared 

he " — &c. 

In " A C. Mery Talys," 152S, Number 10, 
is the story "Of the mylner with the 
golden thombe." It runs as follows: — 
" A Merchant that thought to deride a 
myllner seyd vnto y" myllner syttyng 
among company. Sir, I haue hard say 
that euery trew mylner that tollyth trew- 
lye hathe a gyldeyn thombe. The myl- 
ner answerd and sayd it was trewth. Then 
quod the merchaunt : I pray the let me see 
thy thombe ; & when the mylner shewyd 
hys thomb the merchaunt sayd : I can not 
perceyue y* thy thombe is gylt : but it is 
as all other mennys thombis be. To whom 
the mylner answeryd & seyd : Syr, trew- 
the yt ys that my thomb is gylt ; how be it 
ye haue no power to se it : for ther is a 
properte euer incydet therto, he y' ys a 
cokecold shall neuer haue power to se yt." 
Ed. 1887, sign. Bii. This passage does 
not seem to support Tyrwhitt's view at 
all. In Somersetshire the saying is: — 
"An honest miller hath a golden thumb : 
but none but a cuckold can see it." The 
sense appears to me to be facetious, and 
as tantamount to saying that there is no 
such thing as an honest miller. In "The 
Common Cries of London," an early bal- 
lad, by W. Turner, it is said ; 

" The miller and his golden thumb. 

And his dirty neck, 
If he grind but two bushels. 

He must needs steal a peck." 

In "The Vow-Breaker," by William 
Sampson, 1636, signat. D., Miles, a miller, 
is introduced saying: "Fellow Bateman 
farwell, commend me to my old Wind-Mill 
at Rudington, Oh the Mooter Dish, the 
Millers thumbe, and the maide behinde 
the hopper?" The mooter dish is the 
same as the toll-dish. I suspect " The 
Miller's Thumb" to have been the name of 
the Stickle used in measuring corn, the 
instrument with which corn is made level 
and struck off in measuring : in Latin 
called "Radius," which Ainsworth ren- 
ders ' ' a stricklace or strike, which they 
use in measuring of corn." Compare 
Strickler. See several sayings about 
millers in my "Collection of Proverbs," 
1882, (index in v.) 



412 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Miller's Thumb. — In Ainsworth's 
Dictionary, "A Miller's Thumb" is ren- 
dered " dapito, cephalus fluvialis." Cap- 
ito is explained, ibid. " Qui magno est 
capite, unde et pisois ita dictus. 1. A 
Jolthead ; 2, also a kind of cod fish, a pol- 
lard." In Cotgrave's " Bictionary," "A 
Miller's Thumb " is rendered, " Cabot, 
Teste d'Asne, Musnier." 

Mince-pie. — In Sheppard's "Epi- 
grams," 1651, Mince, Minch, or Minced 
Pies are called Shrid-pies. 

Epig. 19. 
" Christmas Day. 
" No matter for plomb-porridge, or 

Shrid-pies, 
Or a whole oxe offered in sacrifice 
To Comus, not to Christ," &c. 

In Dekker's " Warres, Warres, Warres," 
1628, sign. C. 4, these pies are called 
" Minched Pies." Minced pies are thus 
mentioned in ' ' The Religion of the Hypo- 
critical Presbyterians in meeter," 1661 : 

' ' Three Christmas or minc'd pies, all 

very fair, 
Methought they had this motto, 

' Though they slir 
And preach us down, suh pondere 

crescit virtus.' " 

Jonson in his "Masque of Christmas," 
printed in his "Works," 1616, has intro- 
duced " Minced-Pye " and " Babie-cake," 
who act their parts in the drama. We 
have never been witnesses, says Dr. John- 
son in his "Life of Butler," of animosi- 
ties excited by the use of minced pies and 
plumb-porridge, nor seen with what ab- 
horrence those who could eat them at all 
other times of the year, would shrink from 
them in December. 

Minningr Day. — The first annivers- 
ary or year's mind of a death. "Article 
7. All the day and night after the buri- 
all they vse to have excessive ringinge for 
y» dead, as also at the twel-monthes day 
after, which they call a minninge day. 
AH which time of Ringinge, theire vse is 
to have theire privat devotions at home 
for the soule of the dead. But while the 
partie liethe sicke, they will never require 
to have the Belle knowled, no, not at the 
pointe of deathe ; whereby the people 
showld be sturred vp to prayer in due 
time ; neither will any allmost at that 
time desire to have the minister to come 
to him for comfort and instruction." — 
Ab. 1590, 'The Manifolde Enormities of 
the Ecclesiastical State in the most partes 
of the Countie of Lancaster,' &c. Mr. 
Earwalcer's Information printed in Chet- 
ham Miscellanies, vol. v. 

Mirrors.— See Beryl. 



Mistle-child Sir Hugh Piatt 

— " By sitting vppon a hill late in an 
evening, neare a wood, in a few nights a 
firedrake will appeare ; marke where it 
lighteth, and there you shall find an oake 
with Mistletoe therein, at the roots 
wherof there is a mistel child, wherof 
many strange things are conceived. Beati 
qui non crediderunt. Flora's Paradise, 
1608, p. 80. 

Mistletoe. — This sacred epidendron 
is described by Virgil in the 6th .^neid : — 

"Quale solet silvis brumali frigore 

Viscum 
Fronde virere nova, quod non sua semi- 

nat Arbos, 
Et croceo foetu teretes circumdare trun- 

cos : 
Talis erat species," &c. 

Christie observes hereupon : " We find by 
the allusion of Virgil, who compared the 
golden bough in Infernis to the mistle- 
toe, that the use of this plant was not un- 
known in the religious ceremonies of the 
antients, particularly the Greeks, of 
whose poets he was the acknowledged imi- 
tator.'' Inquiry, 1801, p. 131. A writer 
in Willis's " Current Notes" for August, 
1852, says: — "The Gaelic name for this 
plant forms a singular link and clue to its 
real meaning ; it is uile-ice, the mistletoe, 
the all-heal — ' lus sior uaine a tharuin- 
geas a bhith o phlannt eile, an ever-green 
tree that draws its existence from another 
plant.' It evidently refers us to the Saxon 
Se Hselend, the Healer, the Saviour of 
Mankind. The Saxon mis-el-tu is a com- 
pound of three Sancrit words, viz. Mas, 
vishnu (the Messiah) : tal, a pit (metaph. 
the womb) : and tu, motion to or from. . 
. . . The ivy and mistletoe being ever- 
greens^ denote the everlasting life through 
faith in the promised Messiah. Kissing 
under the mistletoe has now lost its im- 
port : its primary meaning is obvious. I 
believe the . . . branch, Ezekiel viii. 17, 
refers to the mistletoe, the viscum in Vir- 
gil's " .•Eneid," vi. 205 ; but the Hebrew 
signifies a branch not torn off, nor broken 
off, but cut from the tree." 

Mr. G. Williams tells us, that " Guidhel, 
Misletoe, a magical shrub, appears to be 
the forbidden tree in the middle of the 
trees of Eden ; for in the Edda, the mistle- 
toe is said to be Balder's death, who yet 
perished through blindness and a woman." 
Gents. Mag., Feb. 1791. Selden, in 
Notes on the 9th Song of the " Polyol- 
bion " tells us "that on this Drui- 
dical custome (of going out to cut the 
mistletoe) some haue grounded that vnto 
this day vsed in France ; where the youn- 
ger country fellowes, about New-years- 
tide, in euery village giue the wish of good 
fortune at the inhabitants dores, with.. 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



413 



this acclamation, ' Au guy I'an neuf^' (i.e. 
to the mistletoe this New year) ; which, as 
I remember, in Rabelais is read all one 
word, for the same purpose." He cites 
here "Jo. Goropius Gallic. 5, et alii." 
" Aguilanleu, par corruption, pour An 
gui I'an neuf : ad Viscum, Annus novus." 
— Menage. See also Cotgrave in verbo 
" Au-guy-1'an neuf." The Celtic name 
for the oak was gue or guy. Vallancey, 
in his " Grammar of the Irish Language," 
observes: "The mistletoe was sacred to 
the Druids, because not only its berries, 
but its leaves also, grow in clusters of 
three united to one stock. The Christian 
Irish hold the Scamroy, or Shamrock, 
sacred in like manner, because it has three 
leaves united to one stalk." Borlase 
says: "When the end of the year ap- 
proached, the old Druids marched with 
great solemnity to gather the mistletoe of 
the oak, in order to present it to Jupiter, 
inviting all the world to assist at this 
ceremony with these words : ' The New 
year is at hand, gather the Mistletoe.' " 
He cites Keysler to prove that " the foot- 
steps of this custom still remain in some 
parts of France." Antiq. of Cornwall, 
91-2. 

Stukeley mentions the introduction of 
mistletoe into York Cathedral on Christ- 
mas Eve as a remain of Druidism. Speak- 
ing of the Winter Solstice, our Christmas, 
he says : "This was the most respectable 
festival of our Druids, called Yule-tide ; 
when mistletoe, which they called All- 
heal, was carried in their hands, and laid 
on their altars, as an emblem of the salu- 
tiferous advent of Messiah. This mistle- 
toe they cut off the trees with their up- 
right hatchets of brass, called Celts, put 
upon the ends of their staffs, which they 
carried in their hands. Innumerable are 
these instruments found all over the Brit- 
ish Isles. Medallic History of Caravsius, 
ii., 163-4. " The custom is still preserved 
in the North, and was lately at York : on 
the Eve of Christmas-Day they carry mis- 
tletoe to the high altar of the Cathedral, 
and proclaim a public and universal lib- 
erty, pardon, and freedom to all sorts of 
inferior and even wicked people at the 
gates of the city, towards the four quar- 
ters of Heaven." But Brand was of 
opinion, although Gay mentions the 
mistletoe among those evergreens that 
were put up in churches, that it never 
entered those sacred edifices but by mis- 
take, or ignorance of the sextons ; for it 
was the heathenish and prophane plant, 
as having been of such distinction in the 
pagan rites of Druidism, and it therefore 
had its place assigned it in kitchene, 
where it was hung up in great state with 
its white berries, and whatever female 



chanced to stand under it, the young man 
present had a right or claimed one of 
saluting her, and of plucking off a berry 
at each kiss. I have made many diligent 
inquiries after the truth of this. I 
learnt at Bath that it never came into 
the churches there. 

An old sexton at Teddington in Middle- 
sex informed Brand that some mistletoe 
was once put up in the church there, 
but was by the clergyman immediately 
ordered to be taken away. Coles, 
speaking of mistletoe, says: "It is 
carryed many miles to set up in houses 
about Christmas time, when it is adorned 
with a white glistening berry." Sir John 
Colbatch, in his dissertation concerning 
mistletoe, 1720, which he strongly recom- 
mends as a medicine very likely to sub- 
due not only the epilepsy, but all other 
convulsive disorders, observes that this 
beautiful plant must have been designed 
by the Almighty "for further and more 
noble purposes than barely to feed 
thrushes, or to be hung up superstitiously 
in houses, to drive away evil spirits." He 
tells us also, that " the high veneration in 
which the Druids were anciently held by 
people of all ranks, proceeded in a great 
measure from the wonderful cures they 
wrought by means of the mistletoe of the 
oak : this tree being sacred to them, but 
none so that had not the mistletoe upon 
them." The mistletoe of the oak, which 
is very rare, was vulgarly said to be a 
cure for wind-ruptures in children. Col- 
batch asserts that the kind that is found 
upon the apple is good for fits. But Sir 
John endeavours to evince that that of 
the crab, the lime, the pear, or any other 
tree, is of equal virtue. In the " Statis. 
Ace. of Scot." vol. xiii. p. 520, parish of 
Kiltarlity, Inverness, it is said, " In Lo- 
vat's Garden are a great number of stan- 
dard trees. On two standard apple trees 
here misletoe grows, which is a very rare 
plant in this country." For a curious story 
about the mistletoe, see Willis's Current 
Notes for May, 1853. 

Christie speaks of the respect the 
Northern nations entertained for the 
mistletoe, and of the Celts and Goths 
being distinct in the instance of their 
equally venerating the mistletoe about 
the time of the year when the sun 
approached the winter solstice. Inquiry, 
1801, 2nd Dissert., p. 129. 

Mitcham Fair.— On the 12th of 
August, 1871, Mitcham pleasure-fair was 
proclaimed open for three days by gong 
and kettle-drum. 

Mock-begrgrar's-hall The popu- 
lar bye-name for a large house ill kept 
up. See Nares, Glossary, in v. 

Moles. — In the Husbandman's Prac- 



414 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



tice, ed. 1658, p. 153, some of the ideas 
formerljr entertained on this subject are 
given with much simplicity and freedom, 
as for example : "If the man shall have 
a mole on the place right against the 
heart, doth denote him undoubtedly to be 
wicked. If a mole shall be seen either on 
the man's or woman's belly, doth demon- 
strate that he or she to be a great feeder, 
glutton. If a mole in either the man or 
woman shall appear on the place right 
against the spleen, doth signify that he or 
she shall be much passionated and often- 
times sick." The following tokens are 
enumerated by Lupton : "A mole on the 
feet and hands shews there are others on 
the testes, and denotes many children. 
Moles on the arm and shoulder, denote 
great wisdom ; on the left, debate and 
contention. Moles near the the armhole 
riches and honour. A mole on the neck 
commonly denotes one near the stomack, 
which denotes strength. A mole on the 
neck and throat, denotes riches and 
health. A mole on the chin, another near 
the heart, signifies riches. A mole 
on the lip, another on the testes, sig- 
nifies good stomacks and great talkers. 
A mole on the right side of the forehead, 
is a sign of great riches both to men and 
women ; and on the other side the quite 
contrary. Moles on the right ear of 
men or women, denote riches and honour ; 
and on the left, the quite contrary. A 
mole between the eye-brow and edge of 
the eye-lid, there will be another between 
the navel and the secrets. A red mole 
on the nose of a man or woman, there 
will be another on the most secret parts, 
and sometimes on the ribs, and denotes 
great lechery. Moles on the ankles or 
feet, signify modesty in men, and courage 
in women. A mole or moles on the belly, 
denote great eaters. A mole on or about 
the knees, signifies riches and virtue ; if 
on a woman's left knee, many children. 
A mole on the left side of the heart, de- 
notes very ill qualities. A mole on the 
breast, denotes poverty. A mole on the 
thighs denotes great poverty and infeli- 
city." Notable Things, ed. 1660, xii. It 
must remain an astounding monument of 
the gross indelicacy of former times that 
among the sights at Bartholomew Fair 
in the reign of James II., (and both ear- 
lier and later, perhaps), was a girl of 
fifteen with strange moles on a particular 
part of her person. James Percy the 
trunkmaker who, in 1680, claimed the 
Earldom of Northumberland, tried to 
throw discredit on his rival William 
Percy because the latter had not the well 
known mark of the family, whereas he 
had it very distinctly (a mole like a half 
moon.) It is almost superfluous to ob- 
serve that the Parliament paid no regard 



to this divine signature, as James calle 
it, for he did not succeed to the Earldoi 
of Northumberland. Claim, 1680, sign 
D. The following additional informatio; 
on this belief, which, absurd as it is. i 
so far worth commemorating and illus 
trating that it is fast passing away, i 
from a chap-book called " The Greenwici 
Fortune-Teller " : 

" A mole against the heart undoubtedl; 
denotes wickedness. A mole on the bell; 
signifies a glutton. A mole on the bottoB 
of the belly signifies weakness. A mole oi 
the knee signifies obtaining a comely 
wealthy wife. If a woman have a moli 
on her right knee, she will be honest an< 
virtuous ; if on the left, she will have man; 
children. If a man hath a mole atliwar 
his nose he will be a traveller. A mole oi 
a woman's nose, signifies she will trave 
on foot through divers countries. A mol( 
on a man's throat shows that he will be 
come rich. If a woman have a mole oi 
the lower jaw, it signifies she shall leac 
her life in sorrow and pain of body. A 
mole in the midst of the forehead, neai 
the hair, denotes a discourteous, crue! 
mind, and of unpleasant discourse ; if it ii 
of honey colour, will be beloved ; if red- 
sullen and furious ; if black, inexpert and 
wavering, if raised more like a wart, verj 
fortunate ! But if a woman, shows hei 
to be a slut ; and if in her forehead black, 
treacherous, consents to evil and murder. 
A mole on the right side, about the middle 
of the forehead, declares a man to abound 
in benefits by friendship of great men; 
will be loaded with command, esteemed 
and honoured ; the paler the colour the 
greater the honour; if red, he is loved by 
the clergy ; if black, let him beware of 
the resentment of great men ; if warty, 
it increaseth good fortune. A woman 
having this shall be fortunate in all her 
actions ; but if black, beware of her 
tongue. A mole on the left side of the 
forehead, near the hair, predicts misery 
and abundance of tribulations to a man, 
by means of his own misconduct ; if honey- 
coloured or red, his sorrows are lessened; 
but if black, unfortunate in every under- 
taking. A mole on the left side of the 
forehead, about midway, threatens a man 
with persecutions from his superiors; if 
of a honey colour, he prodigally wastes 
his estate; if red, will become poor; if 
black, let him beware of the wrath or 
malice of great men ; if a woman, it threat- 
ens sorrow by the perfidy of some men ! if 
black, let him beware of the wrath or 
of misery. A mole on the left side of the 
forehead, a litle above the temple, if it 
appear red, he has excellent wit and un- 
derstanding ; if black, in danger of being 
branded for his falsehoods; if he has a 
wart, his fate is mitigated. To a woman 
it shows justification of innocence, though 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



415 



not deserved ; if black, malignity, and it 
represents every evil. A mole on any part 
of the lip, signifies a great eater or a 
glutton, much beloved and very amorous. 
A mole on the chin signifies riches. A mole 
on the ear signifies riches and respect. A 
mole on the neck promises riches. A mole 
on the right breast threatens poverty. A 
mole near the bottom of the nostrils is 
lucky. A mole on the left side of the belly 
denotes affliction. A mole on the right 
foot denotes wis<lom. A mole on the left 
foot denotes dangerous rash actions. A 
mole on the eyebrow means speedy mar- 
riage and a good husband. A mole on the 
wrist, or between that and the fingers' 
ends, shows an ingenious mind. If many 
moles happen between the elbow and the 
wrist, they foretell many crosses towards 
the middle of life, which will end in pros- 
perity and comfort. A mole near the side 
of the chin shows an amiable disposition, 
industrious, and successful in all your 
transactions." 

Monacella, St. (January 31). — St. 
Monacella is not even mentioned by 
Hone, Brand, Nicolas, and Chambers. 
She is the Welsh Melange, however, 
whose day was January 31. "The 
Legend of St. Monacella," says a 
correspondent of "Current Notes" for 
March, 1857, "relates that she was 
the daughter of an Irish monarch, who 
had determined to marry her to a noble- 
man of his court. She had, however, 
vowed celibacy, fled from her father's 
dominions, and took refuge in Wales, 
where she lived fifteen years without see- 
ing the face of a man. At length, Brochwel 
Yscythrog, Prince of Powis, one day hare- 
hunting, pursued his game till he came 
to a great thicket where he was amazed 
to find a virgin of surprising beauty, en- 
gaged in deep devotion, with (under her 
robe) the hare he had been pursuing, 
boldly facing the dogs, who retired howl- 
ing to a distance, notwithstanding all the 
efforts of the prince's followers to make 
them seize their prey. Even when the 
huntsman attempted to blow his horn, it 
stuck to his lips. The prince heard her 
story, and gave to God and her a parcel 
of land, to be a sanctuary to all that fled 
there. ..." St. Monacella died lady 
superior of the abbey she founded in conse- 
quence, at an advanced age, and was 
buried in the adjoining church, called 
from her Pennant-Melangell. Pennant 
the historian records a visit paid by him 
to this spot in 1784. Tours in Wales, 1810, 
iii., 173-4. 

Monday, Saint.— This does not 
belong to the calendar, but is merely in- 
troduced here to notice, that it is so jocu- 
larly christened by those mechanics and 
others, who make Monday a dies non in a 



working sense, not to say Tuesday. In 
fact, if we reckon in the new Saturday 
half-holiday (which is, however, rather, a 
revival slightly altered) certain classes of 
our operatives only keep strictly to their 
work from Tuesday to Saturday at noon. 
In some parts of Yorkshire, any day de- 
voted to idleness is called Cobbler's Mon- 
day, from the fact that members of that 
vocation seldom ply their trade till the 
Tuesday ; this is not confined to Yorkshire, 
but is general, and applies to a few other 
crafts. Benjamin Franklin, in his auto- 
biography, expressly states that he gained 
the good will of his master in early days 
by never making a Saint Monday. C. 
Knight's Shadows of the Old Booksellers, 
1865, p. 87. 

Monitor Lizard.— This inhabitant 
of the Nile district and of the Transvaal 
is popularly supposed to utter a sort of 
warning in the shape of a hissing sound at 
the approach of a crocodile. See one, re- 
cently added to the Regent's Park collec- 
tion, delineated in the Daily Graphic, 
March 16, 1897. 

Monks. — Gaule says: "Meeting of 
monks is commonly accounted as an ill 
omen, and so much the rather if it be 
early in the morning : because these kind 
of men live for the most part by the sud- 
dain death of men ; as vultures do by 
slaughters." 

Month's Mind, The.— Bede speaks 
of this as Gommemorationis Dies — Mind- 
ing Days. It was also an anniversary ob- 
servance. "Minnyng Days " says Blount, 
"from the Saxon Lemynde, days which 
our ancestors called their Monthes mind, 
their Years Mind, and the like, being the 
days whereon their souls, (after their 
deaths), were had in special remembrance, 
and some office or obsequies said for them : 
as Obits, Dirges, &c. This word is still 
retained in Lancashire ; but elsewhere 
they are more commonly called annivers- 
ary days. The common expression of 
' having a Month's Mind,' implying a 
longing desire, is probably derived 
hence." The following is in Peck : " By 
saying they have a month's mind to it, 
they antiently must undoubtedly mean, 
that, if they had what they so much longed 
for, it would (hyperbolically speaking) 
do them as much good (they thought) as 
they believed a month's mind, or service 
said once a month, (could they afford to 
have it), would benefit their souls after 
their decease." Desiderata Curiosa, i., 
230. But this expression, which was orig- 
inally special and strict, being applied to 
the masses or other funeral services per- 
formed m remembrance of the departed 
acquired the general meaning of a com- 
memoration, as in the case of Robert 
Tofte's " Alba, or the Month's Mind of a 
Melancholy Lover," 1598. 



4i5 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



We read in " Fabian's Chronicle " that 
"in 1439 died Sir Roberde Chicheley, Gro- 
cer, twice Mayor of London, the which 
wylled in his Testament that upon his 
Mynde Day a good and competent dyner 
should be ordayned to xxiiii. C. pore men, 
and that of liousholders of the Citee, yf 
they myght be founde. And over that 
was XX pounde distributed among 
them, which was to every man two 
pence." Fabyan the historian himself 
also, in his will, gives directions for his 
month's mind: "At whiche tyme of 
burying, and also the Monethis Mynde, 
I will that myne Executrice dqo cause 
to be carried from London .xii. newe 
torches, there beyng redy made, to burn 
in the tymes of the said burying and 
Monethes Mind : and also that they do 
purvay for .iiii. tapers of .iii. lb evry 
pece, to brenne about the corps and herse 
for the foresaid .ii. seasons, whiche torches 
and tapers to be bestowed as hereafter 
shalbe devised; which .iiij. tapers I will 
be holden at every tyme by foure poore 
men, to the whiche I will that to every- 
one of theym be geven for their labours at 
either of the saide .ij. tymes. iiijd. to as 
many as been weddid men : and if any of 
them happen to be unmarried, than they 
to have but .iij.d. a pece, and in lyke 
maner I will that the torche berers be 
orderid." In another part of his will he 
says : " Also I will, that if I decesse at 
my tenemente of Halstedis, that myn ex- 
ecutrice doo purvay ayenst my burying 
competent brede, ale, and chese, for all 
comers to the parishe Churche, and a- 
yenst the Moneths Mynde I will be or- 
deyned, at the said Churche, competent 
brede, ale, pieces of befte and moton, and 
rost rybbys of beffe, as shallbe thought 
nedeful by the discrecion of myn Execut- 
trice, for all comers to the said obsequy, 
over and above brede, ale, and chese, for 
the comers unto the dirige over night. And 
furthermore I will that my said Execu- 
trice do purvay ayenst the said Moneths 
Mynde .xxiiij. peces of beffe and moton, 
and .xxiiij. treen platers and .xxiiij. treen 
sponys ; the whiche peces of fleshe with the 
said platers and sponys, w'. .xxiiij .d. of 
siluer, I will be geven unto .xxiiij. poore 
persones of the said parishe of Theydon 
Garnon, if w'in that parishe so many may 
be founde : for lake whereof, I will the 
.xxiiij. peces of flesh and .ij.s. in money, 
w' the foresaid platers and sponys be 
geven unto suohe poore persones as may 
be found in the parisshes of Theydon at 
Mount, and Theydon Boys, after the dis- 
crecion of myn Executors ; and if my said 
Moneths Mynde fall in Lent, or upon a 
fysshe day, than I will that the said .xxiiij. 
peces of fleshe be altered unto saltfyshe or 
stokfyshe, unwatered, and unsodeyn, and 



that every piece of beef or moton, salt 
fyshe or stokfyshe, be well in value of ; 
peny or a peny at the leest ; and that no 
dyner be purveyed for at horn but for m; 
household and kynnysfolke : and I wil 
that my knyll be rongyn at my Moneth 
Mynde after the guyse of London. Als 
I will that myn Executrice doo assembl 
upon the said day of Moneths Mynde .xii 
or the porest menys childern of the fore 
said parishe, and after the masse is endei 
and other obseruances, the said childer) 
to be ordered about my grave, and ther 
knelyng, to say for my soule and all Cris 
ten soules, ' De profundis,' as many o 
them as can, and tne residue to say a Pate 
noster, and an Ave oonly ; to the whicl 
.xij. childern I will be geven .xiiij.d. tha 
is to meane, to that childe that beginnetl 
' De profundis ' and saith the preces, ij.d 
and to eueryche of the other j.d.' 
Chronicle, new edit. Preface, 45. 

In the " Churchwardens' Accounts o 
St. Mary at Hill, London, 17 & 19 Edw 
IV.," are the following articles: " Pd 
to Sir I. Philips for keepyng the MorroT 
Mass at 6 o'clock upon feryall days, eacl 
quarter v.s." 

" To the Par. Priest to remember in th 
pulpit the soul of R. Bliet, who gave vjs 
viijd. to the Church works, ij.d." 

In the " Accounts of St. Margaret 
"Westminster," we read : " Item, at th 
Monyth Mynde of Lady Elizabeth Coun 
tess of Oxford, for four tapers, viijd.' 
Under the year 1531, is, " Item, for mett 
for the theff that stalle the Pyx. iiijd.' 
And in 1532: "Item, received for iiii 
Torches of the black Guard, viijd." Oi 
these occasions the word "Mind" signi 
fled Remembrance : and the expression : 
"Month's Mind," a "Year's Mind," &c 
meant that on that day, month, or yea 
after the party's decease, some solemn sei 
vice for the good of his soul should b 
celebrated. Some of these month's mind 
appear to have been conducted with grea 
solemnity and at a very considerable cosi 
Anne Barneys, in a letter to Cromwel! 
Lord Privy Seal, about 1536, speaks c 
one where there were as many as a hur 
dred priests in attendance. The earlies 
printed discourse of this character is tha 
delivered by Bishop Fisher on Margarel 
Countess of Richmond and Derby in 150S 
which came from the press of Wynkyn d 
Worde in the same year. 

Moon, The. — The moon, the anciei 
object of idolatrous worship, has in lat 
times composed an article in the creed t 
popular superstition. The anciei 
Druids had their superstitious rites £ 
the changes of the moon. Even down i 
quite recent times the nature and infli 
ence of this planet and its rank in tl 
cosmic system were very imperfect! 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



417 



knowiij even to scientific persons of all 
countries. 

" The superstitions of our own 
countrymen, remarks Jaraieson, " and 
of the Swedes on this head, equally con- 
firm the account given by Caesar concern- 
ing the ancient Germans, the forefathers 
of both. ' As it was the custom with 
them,' he says, ' that their matrons, by 
the use of lots and prophecies, should de- 
clare, whether they should join in battle or 
not, they said that the Germans could not 
be victorious, if they should engage be- 
fore the full moon.' Commen, lib. i., c. 50. 
They reckoned new or full moon the most 
auspicious season for entering on any busi- 
ness. The Swedes do not carry this far- 
ther than they did." " Coeunt," says 
Tacitus, ' 'certis diebus, quum, aut inchoa- 
tur Luna, aut impletur. Nam agendis 
rebus hoc auspicatissimum initium cre- 
dunt." 

Northbrooke, in his "Treatise against 
Dicing," 1577, makes St. Augustine ob- 
serve; "It is better that women should 
picke woole or spinne vpon the Sabbaoth 
day, than that they should daunce impu- 
dently and filthily all the day long vpon 
the dayos of the new moone." Which 
seems to point to certain orgies of the 
early Christians on these occasions. 

In the ballad of Sir Patrick Spens is 
the following stanza : 

"I saw the new moon, late yestreen, 
Wi' the auld moon in her arm ; 

And if we gang to sea, master, 
I fear we'll come to harm." 

Jamieson says that in Scotland, it is 
considered as an almost infallible presage 
of bad weather, if the moon lies fair on 
her back, or when the horns are pointed 
towards the Zenith. It is a similar prog- 
nostic, when the new moon appears with 
the old moon in her arms, or in other 
words, when that part of the moon which 
is covered with the shadow of the earth 
is seen through it. A Brugh, or hazy 
circle round the moon_, is accounted a cer- 
tain prognostic of rain. If the circle be 
wide, and at some distance from the body 
of that luminary, it is believed that the 
rain will be delayed for some time ; if it 
be close, and as it were adhering to the 
disk of the moon, rain is expected very 
soon. Did. v. Moon. Bailey tells 
us that the common people, in some 
counties of England, are accustomed 
at the prime of the moon , to say : 
"It is a fine moon, God bless her " ; 
which some imagine to proceed from a 
blind zeal, retained from the ancient Irish 
who worshipped the moon, or from a cus- 
tom in Scotland, (particularly in the 
Highlands), where the women make a cur- 
tesy to the new moon : and some English 
women still retain a touch of this gentil- 



ism, who getting up upon, and sitting 
astride on a gate or stile, the first night 
of the new moon, say : 

" All hail to the Moon, all hail to thee, 
I prithee, good Moon, declare to me, 
This night, who my husband shall be." 

Aubrey gives it thus: "At the first ap- 
pearance of the new moon after New 
Year's Day (some say any other new moon 
is as goo<i), go out in the evening and 
stand over the spars of a gate or stile, 
looking on the moon, and say : 

"All hail to the moon, all hail to thee, 
I prithee, good moon, reveal to me 
This night, who my husband (wife) 
must be." 

You must presently after go to bed. I 
knew two gentlewomen that did this when 
they were young maids, and they had 
dreams of those that married them. In 
Yorkshire they kneel on a ground-fast 
stone." "Miscellanies," ed. 1857 p. 132-3. 

Jamieson has quoted these words as used 
in Scotland, in a different form, from the 
Rev. J. Nichol's " Poems," vol. i. p. 31, 
32, and cited the following note by the 
author : "As soon as you see the first new 
moon of the new year, go to a place where 
you can set your feet upon a stone natur- 
ally fixed in the earth, and lean your back 
against a tree ; and in that posture hail 
or address the moon in the words of the 
poem. If ever you are to be married, 
you will then see an apparition, exactly 
resembling the future partner of your 
joys and sorrows." In one of his less 
known works Defoe has a chapter on 
omens, in which he says : "To see a new 
moon the first time after her change, on 
the right hand, or directly before you, 
betokens the utmost good fortune that 
month, as to have her on your left, or 
behind you, so that in turning your head 
back you happen to see her, foreshows 
the worst : as also, they say, to be without 
gold in your pocket at that time, is of 
very bad consequence." Memoirs of Dun- 
can Camphel, 1732, p. 62. Turning a piece 
of money, and wishing^ on the first sight 
of the new moon, is still a common prac- 
tice and article of belief ; but the planet 
must not be seen through glass. 

Sir E. Sherburne, in his Notes to the 
Medea of Seneca, 1648, p. 105, says : " Of 
the beating of kettles, basons, and other 
brazen vessells used by the antients when 
the moon was eclipsed (which they did to 
drown the charmes of witches, that the 
moon might not heare them, and so be 
drawne from her spheare as they sup- 
posed), I shall not need to speake, being a 
thing so generally knowne, a custom con- 
tinued among the Turks at this day : yet I 
cannot but adde, and wonder at, what 
Joseph Scaliger, in his Annotations upon 



4i8 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Manilius, reports out of Bonincontrius, 
an antient commentator upon the same 
poet : who aflSrmes that in a towne of 
Italy where he lived, (within these two 
centuries of yeares), he saw the same peece 
of Paganisme acted upon the like occa- 
sion. But the Romans followed an ex- 
actly similar practice at the lunar eclipses 
and one of our own earlier writers, who 
was, however, a mere compiler, states that 
they were accustomed also to throw fire- 
brands into the air, and carry about 
lighted torches, with a view to restore the 
moon's lustre. This author informs us, 
that the Spartans conferred on their 
Ephori the power of deposing the king, 
if when, according to custom, they had 
invited him to behold the stars on some 
bright (but moonless) night, and a star 
was seen to shoot, because, says the writer 
quite gravely, this shewed that the king 
had offended the gods. " So did Lysan- 
der," says he, "depose King Leonidas." 
Lloyd's Stratagems of Jerusalem, 1602, 
pp. 286-7. 

At Melbourne, in Australia, if not 
elsewhere, it is a belief that fish 
caught in the full of the moon, and after- 
wards left exposed to its rays, becomes 
poisonous. But perhaps this phenomenon 
IS really referable to climate and atmos- 
phere. Some early (eleventh century) 
sun and moon weather portents are given 
in Beliquice Antiqum, 1841, p. 15. Braith- 
waite, speaking of a Xantippean, says : 
" A burre about the mono is not half so 
certaine a presage of a tempest, as her 
brow is of a storme." Whimzies, 1631, 
173. The hornedness of the new moon is 
still faintly considered by the vulgar as 
an omen with regard to the weather. They 
say on that occasion, the new moon looks 
sharp. In Dekker's "Match me in Lon- 
don," act i., the king says: "My Lord, 
doe you see this change i' th' moone, 
sharp homes doe threaten windy 
weather." The ancients also chiefly re- 
garded the age of the moon in felling 
their timber : their rule was to fell in 
the wane, or four days after the new 
moon, or sometimes in the last quarter. 
Pliny advises it to be in the very moment 
of the change, which happening to be in 
the last day of the winter solstice, the 
timber, he says, will be incorruptible. 
Melton tells us that, "St. Augustine in 
his 'Enchiridion ' sayth, that it is a great 
offence for any man to observe the time 
and course of the moone, when they plant 
any trees or sowe an.y corne ; for he sayth, 
none puts any trust in them but they that 
worship them : believing there is some 
divine power in them, according to those 
things they believe concerning the nativi- 
ties of men." Astrologaster, 1620, p. 56. 
In "Tusser's Husbandry," under Febru- 
ary, are the following lines : 



" Sowe peason and beans in the wa 

of the moone. 
Who soweth them sooner, he sowe 

too soone : 
That they^ with the planet, may r< 

and rise. 
And flourish with bearing, most plen 

ful wise." 

On which is the following note in " Tuss 
Redivivus," 1744, p. 16 : "Peas and beai 
sown during the increase, do run more 
hawn and straw, and during the deck 
sion more to cod, according to the co: 
mon consent of countrymen. And I mi 
own I have experienced it, but I will n 
aver it so that it is not liable to exec 
tions." 

An early authority also recommends 
to ' ' Kill swine in or neer the full of t 
moon, and the flesh will the better pro 
in boiling." And, again: "Kill f 
swine for bacon (the better to keep th< 
fat in boiling) about the full moon." Ali 
" Shear sheep at the moon's increase: f 
hand timber from the full to the chanj 
Fell frith, copice, and fuel at the fii 
quarter. Lib or geld cattle, the moon 
Aries, Sagittarius, or in Capricorn 
Husbandman's Practice, 1664, 108. SI 
venson tells us that "horses and mai 
must be put together in the increase 
the moone, for foales got in the wane a 
not accounted strong and healthfuU 
Twelve Moneths, 1661, 19. Our ancestc 
seem to have been of opinion that frr 
should be gathered, and cattle gelded, 
the wane of the moon, "because in th 
season bodies have lesse humour and hes 
by which an innated putrefaction is wo 
to make them faulty and unsound." Cu\ 
osities, or, The Cabinet of Nature, 16£ 
231. 

This planet, as Dr. Johnson te 
us, has great influence in vulgar phil 
Sophy. In his memory, he observes, 
was the precept annually given in one 
the English almanacks, to kill hogs wh 
the moon was increasing, and the bac 
would prove the better in boiling. It 
said, that, " to the influence of the mO' 
is owing the increase and decrease of t 
marrow and brain in animals; that s 
frets away stones, governs the cold ai 
heat, the rain and wind. Did we ma 
observations, we should find that the te: 
perature of the air hath so little sy: 
pathy with the new or full moon, th 
we may count as many months of dry 
wet weather, when the return of the mo 
was wet, and contrariwise ; so true is 
that the changes of the weather are st 
ject to no rule obvious to us. 'Twere ea 
to shew, that the reason of the thing 
directly against the popular opinion 
Bayley's Diet, quoted in Gents. Mat 
September, 1734. A work already quot 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



419 



tells us that it used to be thought "Good 
to purge with electuaries, the moon in 
Caucer. With pills, the moon in Pisces. 
With potions, the moon in Virgo. Good 
to take vomits, the moon being in Taurus, 
Virgo, or the latter part of Sagittarius. 
To purge the head by sneezing, the moon 
being in Cancer, Leo, or Virgo. To stop 
Fluxes and Rheumes, the moone being in 
Taurus, Virgo, or Capricorne. To bathe 
when the moone is in Cancer, Libra, 
Aquarius, or Pisces. To cut the hair 
off the head or beard^ when the moon 
is in Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius, or 
Pisces. Briefe observations of hus- 
bandry. Set, sow seeds, graft, and 
plant, the moone being in Taurus, 
Virgo, or in Capricorn. And all kind 
of corne in Cancer. Graft in March 
at the moone's increase, she being in Tau- 
rus or Capricorne." Hxisbandman's 
Practice, 1664, p. 116. 

Werenfels, in his " Dissertation upon 
Superstition," speaking of a supersti- 
tious man, says: "He will not commit 
his seed to the earth when the 
soil, but when the moon requires it. 
He will have his hair cut when the moon 
is either in Leo, that his locks may stare 
like the lion's shag ; or in Aries, that they 
may curl like a Ram's horn. Whatever 
he would have to grow, he sets about it 
when she is in her increase ; but for what 
he would have made less, he chuses her 
wane. When the moon is in Taurus he 
never can be persuaded to take physick, 
lest that animal, which chews its cud, 
should make him cast it up again. If at 
any time he has a mind to be admitted 
into the presence of a prince, he will wait 
till the moon is in conjunction with the 
sun ; for 'tis then the society of an infe- 
rior with a superior is salutary and suc- 
cessful!." Engl. Transl., 1748, p. 6. Lord 
Northampton, in his " Defensative," 
1583, observes: "They forbidde us, when 
the mone is in a fixed signe, to put on a 
newe garment ; why so ? because it is lyke 
that it wyll be^ too longe in wearing, a 
small faulte about this towne, where gar- 
ments seldome last till they be payd for. 
But theyr meaning is, that the garment 
shall continue long, in respect of any 
strength or goodnes in the stuffe ; but by 
the duraunce or disease of him, that hath 
neyther leysure nor liberty to weare it." 
In a copy of the second edition of Holin- 
shed, 1586, a contemporary owner, Thomas 
Hayward, has noted on a flyleaf: "At 
night y^ moone being at y" full and about 
som 3 ours high did ascend up right into 
y° heavens w'^ a very swift course till y' 
came to y" hight of 6 hours high, & there 
stoode. The first behoulder heereof was 
Mr. Robert Tailor of Hull Alderman, who 
seeing the same in his garden, and fear- 
ing to be deceaved went and tooke y° 



moone by y° topp of an house, by w""" he 
more perfectly perceaved the swiftnes 
thereof. . . . Y" new yers day I came to 
Hull in y" morning, and he tould me of 
y'." Shakespear tells us in liichard II., 
ii., 4: 

" Meteors fright the fixed stars of 

Heaven : 
The pale-fac'd moon looks bloody on the 

earth. 
And lean-look'd prophets whisper fear- 
ful change : 
These signs forerun the death or fall of 

kings." 
Lodge notices a curious lunar super- 
stition : "When the moone appeareth in 
the Spring time, the one home spotted, 
and hidden with a blacke and great 
cloud, from the first day of his apparition 
to the fourth day after, it is some signe 
of tempests and troubles in the aire the 
Sommer after." Wits Miserie, 1596, p. 
44. In "The Freiris of Berwik," attri- 
buted to Dunbar, is the following passage, 
seeming to shew that to swear by the 
moon, was one of the old forms of adjura- 
tion : 

' ' Quhen Symone saw it appinuit on 

this wyis, 
He had grit wondir ; and sweris be the 

mone. 
That Freir Robert weill his dett had 
done." 

Dunbar's Works, 1834, ii., 16. In "The 
Witch of Edmonton," 1658, p. 14, young 
Banks observes: "When the moon's in 
the full, then wit's in the wane." The 
notion that the moon is made of green 
cheese is noticed in the very early play of 
■Jack Juggler. Butler touches on the sub- 
ject of lunar superstitions ; speaking of 
his Conjuror, he tells us : 

" But with the moon was more familiar 
Than e'er was Almanack well wilier ; 
Her secrets understood so clear. 
That some believ'd he had been there ; 
Knew when she was in fittest mood. 
For cutting corns, or letting blood ; 
When for anointing scabs or itches, 
Or to the bum applying leeches ; 
When sows and bitches may be spav'd. 
And in what sign best sider's made ; 
Whether the wane be, or increase, 
Best to set garlick or sow pease : 
Who first found out the Man i' th' 

moon. 
That to the ancients was unknown. 
***** 

He made an instrument to know 
If the moon shine at full or no : 
That wou'd as soon as e'er she shone, 

straight 
Whether 'twere day or night, demon- 
strate ; 
Tell what her d'metre fan inch is, 



420 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



And prove that she is not made of 

green-cheese. 
It would demonstrate that the man in 
The moon's a Sea Mediterranean ; 
And that it is no do^ nor bitch, 
That stands behind him at his breech ; 
But a huge Caspian Sea, or lake 
With arms, which men for legs mistake ; 
How large a gulf his tail composes. 
And what a goodly bay his nose is ; 
How many German leagues by th' scale 
Cape-Snout's from Promontory Tail." 

Hudibras, ed. 1694, pp. 338-9. To an in- 
quiry in the "British Apollo," 1710, No. 
X : — 

" Pray tell your Querist if he may 
Rely on what the vulgar say. 
That when the moon's in her increase, 
If corns be cut they'll grow apace ; 
But if you always do take care. 
After the full your corns to pare. 
They do insensibly decay, 
And will in time wear quite away. 
If this be true, pray let me know, 
And give the reason why 'tis so." 
It is answered : 

" The moon no more regards your corns, 
Than cits do one another's horns : 
Diversions better Phoebe knows. 
Than to consider your gall'd toes." 

It appears that among the common 
people m Scotland in the 18th cen- 
tury, "the moon in the increase, full 
growth, and in her wane, were 
the emblems of a rising, flourishing, 
and declining fortune." "At the 
last period of her revolution," the nar- 
rative quoted proceeds to state, "they 
carefully avoid to engage in any business 
of importance ; but the first and middle 
they seize with avidity, presaging the 
most auspicious issue to their undertak- 
ings. Poor Martinus Scriblerus never 
more anxiously watched the blowing of the 
west wind to secure an heir to his genius, 
than the love-sick swain and his nymph 
for the coming of the new moon to he 
noosed together in matrimony. Should 
the planet happen to be' at the height of 
her splendour when the ceremony is per- 
formed, their future life will be a scene 
of festivity, and all its paths strewed over 
with rose-buds of delight. But when her 
tapering horns are turned towards the 
north, passion becomes frost-bound, and 
seldom thaws till the genial season again 
approaches. From the moon they not only 
draw prognostications of the weather, 
but according to their creed also discover 
future events. There they are dimly pour- 
trayed, and ingenious allusion never fails 
in explanation. The veneration paid to this 
planet, and the opinion of its influences, 
are obvious from the meaning still affixed 
to some words of the Gaelic language. In 



Druidic mythology, when the circle of tl 
moon was complete. Fortune then pr 
mised to be the most propitious. Agre 
ably to this idea, rath, which signifies ) 
Gaelic a wheel or circle, is transferred i 
signify fortune. They say ' ata rath aii 
he is fortunate. The wane, when tl 
circle is diminishing, and consequent! 
unlucky, they call mi-rath. Of one thi 
is unfortunate, they say, ' at a mi-rai 
air.' " Stat. Ace, i., 47. Prom tl 
same source we learn that ' ' A cave in tl 
neighbourhood of Dunskey ought also i 
be mentioned, on account of the grei 
veneration in which it is held (1791) I 
the people. At the change of the moo 
(which is still considered with supe 
stitious reverence), it is usual to brinj 
even from a great distance, infiri 
persons, and particularly ricketty chi 
dren, whom they often supposed b( 
witched, to bathe in a stream that poui 
from the hill, and then dry them in 
cave." vii., 560. Shaw informs us thi 
at the full moon in March the ir 
habitants cut withes of the mistletoe c 
ivy, make circles of them, keep them a 
the year, and pretend to cure hectics an 
other troubles by them. Johnson, in hi 
" Journey to the Hebrides," tells us, the 
expect better crops of grain, by sowin 
their seed in the moon's increase. At 
count of Eloin and Moray, appended t 
Pennants Tour in Scotland. Martir 
speaking of Skie, says : " The natives ar 
very much dispos'd to observe the infl« 
ence of the moon on human bodies, an 
for that cause they never dig their peat 
but in the decrease ; for they observe tha 
if they are cut in the increase ; they cor 
tinue still moist and never burn clear, no 
are they without smoak, but the contrar 
is daily observed of peats cut in the de 
crease. They make up their earther: 
dykes in the decrease only, for such as ar 
made at the increase are still observed t 
fall." W. I. of Scotl., p. 174. 

On the continent, there is th 
testimony of Kirchmaier (or Naogeoi 
gus) to shew that ideas, similar t 
those cherished in Great Britain am 
Ireland, were entertained on thi 
subject. They consulted the moon 
before they bled, cut their hair, pare< 
their nails, put their children to nurse 
took physic, or manured their fields 
Popish Kingdom, by Googe, 1570., p. 44 

Mungo Park, in his "Travels in Africa,' 
speaking of the Mandingoe tribe of In 
dians, says: "On the first appearance o 
a new moon, they view it as newly created 
and say a short prayer : this seems to b 
the only visible adoration those negroes 
who are not Mahometans, offer to th 
Deity. This prayer is pronounced in 
whisper, the person holding up his hand 
before his face ; at the conclusion they spi 



Aisu rurui^AK CUSTOMS. 



421 



upon theii- hands and rub them over 
their faces. They think it very unlucky 
to begin a journey, or any other work of 
consequence, in the last quarter of the 
moon. An eclipse, whether of sun or 
moon, is supposed to be effected by witch- 
craft. The stars are very little regarded ; 
and the whole study of astronomy they 
view as dealing in magic. If they are 
asked for what reason they pray to the 
new moon, they answer, because their 
fathers did so before them." He tells us, 
in another place, ' ' When the Mahometan 
Feast of Rhamadan was ended, the priests 
.assembled to watch for the appearance 
of the new moon, but the evening being 
«loudy, they were for some time disap- 
pointed ; on a sudden, this delightful ob- 
ject shewed her sharp horns from behind 
a cloud, and was welcomed with the clap- 
ping of hands, beating of drums, firing of 
muskets, and other marks of rejoicing." 

Moon-Calf ■ — Among the prepos- 
terous inventions of fancy in ancient 
■superstition occurs " The Moon-Calf " : an 
inanimate shapeless mass, supposed by 
Pliny to be engendered of woman only. 
Nat. Hist., X., 64. Drayton has devoted 
.a poem to the subject, inserted among 
his miscellaneous pieces, 1627. 

Moon-Wort. — Coles tells us: "It is 
said, yea and believed by many, that 
moon-wort will open the locks wherewith 
•dwelling-houses are made fast, if it be 
put into the key-hole ; as also that it will 
loosen the locks, fetters, and shoes from 
those horses' feet that goe on the places 
•where it groweth; and of this opinion was 
Master Oulpeper, who, though he railed 
iigainst superstition in others, yet had 
enough of it himselfe, as may appear by 
liis story of the Earl of Essex his horses, 
which being drawn up in a body, many of 
them lost their shoos upon White Downe 
in Devonshire, neer Tiverton, because 
moonwort grows upon heaths." Introd. 
■to the Knowledge of Plants, 1656, p. 71. 
Turner was confident, that tho' moonwort 
" be the moons herb, yet it is neither 
smith, farrier, nor picklock." British 
Physician, 1687, p. 209. Wither alludes 
"to the supposed virtues of the moonwort : 

' There is a herb, some say, whose ver- 

tue's such 
It in the pasture, only with a touch, 
Unshooes the new-shod steed." 
— .ibuses Stript and Whipt, 1613. 

Mop. — Plot, speaking of the Statutes 
for hiring servants, says "in his "History 
of Oxfordshire," that at Banbury they 
■•called them the Mop. He says that at 
Bloxham the carters stood with their 
whips in one place, and the shepherds with 
'their crooks m another ; but the maids, as 
"iar as he could observe, stood promiKcii- 



ously. He adds that this custom seems 
as old as our Saviour, and refers to Matth. 
XX. 3. Eden tells us in a note : "In 
Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, 
and Berkshire, servants continue to at- 
tend the Mopp or Statute, as it is called 
(i.e., Michaelmas Fair) in order to be 
hired for a year. Each person has a 
badge, or external mark, expressive of his 
occupation. A carter exhibits a piece of 
whip-cord tied to his hat : a cow-herd has 
a lock of cow-hair in his : and the dairy- 
maid has the same descriptive mark at- 
tached to her breast. So in the North of 
England, at the Spring hiring-term, the 
servants to be hired, who are almost al- 
ways persons to be employed in husban- 
dry, are to be distinguished from others, 
who attend the market, by their wearing 
a large posie or bouquet of flowers at 
their breasts ; which is no unapt emblem 
of their calling. Even in London, brick- 
layers and other house-labourers carry 
their respective implements to the places 
where they stand for hire : for which pur- 
pose they assemble in great numbers in 
Cheapside and at Charing-Cross, every 
morning, at five or six o'clock. So, in old 
Rome there were particular spots in which 
servants applied for hire. ' In Tusco 
vico, ibi sunt Homines qui ipsi se ven- 
ditent.' Plauti Curculio, act iv." State 
of the Poor, 1797, i., 32. 

The Michaelmas Hiring Fair took place 
at High Wycombe in 1903. The market- 
place was, as usual, the rendezvous of the 
farm-servants. The shepherds were dis- 
tinguished, as a rule, by the tufts of wool 
they wear in their caps, the cowmen by 
a decoration of hair, and the ploughmen 
by their knotted whip cord. As soon as a 
bargain is struck the hired men and 
maidens display knots of bright coloured 
ribbons, and the rest of the day is spent 
among the swings and roundabouts. The 
present year's experience betrayed a 
decline in the interest shown and in the 
attendance. Daily Mail, Sept. 28-9, 1903. 

More Sacks to the Mill. — This 
is called "an infant play" in Love's 
Labour Lost, written before 1598,, iv. 3. 
A writer in the Gevtleman's Magazine for 
February, 1773, brackets it with Hot 
Cockles, with which it assuredly has no- 
thing in common. My friend Mr. A. G. 
Greenhill, of Emmanuel, Cambridge, 
writes to me: "At Christ's Hospital in 
ray time a game was played, called Bring 
the Basket. Sides having been chosen, 
one side went in and formed a line of 
backs, whereupon tho other side had to 
leap, while a formula was repeated. If 
successful the second side went in again ; 
but if not, it became their turn to form 
a line of backs. Sometimes, of course, 
the "^acks broke down, with the other 



422 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



boys on the topj all in confusion, on which 
the cry was raised : ' Sacks on the mill.' 
The game was discouraged by the masters, 
because it was necessarily injurious to the 
boys' clothes." There used to be a some- 
what similar diversion, known as Hico- 
colorum, in which the line of backs was 
formed by the first boy placing himself 
against a fence or wall, the second leaning 
upon his chest, and the third placing his 
head between the second one's legs, and 
so on, till a line was made, which it was 
the aim of the opposing side to break. The 
formula here was Hicocolorum ! Jig, jig, 

jig! 

Morris Dance. — The Morris 
Dance, in which bells are gingled, or staves 
or swords clashed, was learned, says Dr. 
Johnson, by the Moors, and was probably 
a kind of Pyrrhick or military dance. 
" Morisco," says Blount, "(Span.) a 
Moor ; also a dance, so called, wherein 
there were usually five men, and a boy 
dressed in a girl's habit, whom they called 
the Maid Marian, or perhaps, Morian, 
from the Italian Morione, a head-piece, 
because her head was wont to be gaily 
trimmed up. Common people call it a 
Morris Dance." See the last edit, of 
Nares' "Glossary," and Halliwell's 'Arch- 
aic Dictionary," ad vocem. The deriva- 
tion of Morris from Morisco quasi Moor 
is very doubtful, but no better etymology 
has yet been proposed. 

In the Privy Purse Expenses of 
Henry VII., under 1494, is an entry 
under January 2, " For playing of 
the Mourice daunce, £2 " ; and under 
February 4, 1502, occurs a second pay- 
ment for a similar purpose of £1 13s. 4d., 
which appears to be significant of its per- 
formance irrespectively of the season. 
But of course these exhibitions were be- 
fore the King. In the third volume of 
the Shakespear Society's Papers, are some 
very interesting extracts from the papers 
of Richard Gibson, supposed to have been 
yeoman tailor to Henry VIII., relating 
to dramatic and other entertainments at 
Court in the very commencement of that 
prince's reign. Under the date of 1510- 
11, Gibson gives an account of a " Mor- 
ryshe Dance," by the King's henchmen, 
who came out of an artificial hill, on the 
top of which was " a goldyn stoke, 
branchyd with roses and pomgarnats 
crowned." This was devised by Sir Henry 
Guildford. In Coates's " History of 
Reading," we have: — 

" A.D. 1557, Item, payd to the mynstrels 
and the hobby horse uppon May Day, 3s. — 
Item, payed to the Morrys Daunsers and 
the Mynstrelles, mete and drink at Whit- 
sontide, 3s. 4d. — Payed to them the Son- 
day after May Day, 20d. — P* to the Pain- 
ter for painting of their cotes, 2s. 8d. — 



P4 to the Painter for 2 dz. of Lyvereyes, 
20d." In the Churchwardens' and Cham- 
berlain's books of Kingston-on-Thames 
are several particulars illustrative of this 
part of the subject. They are printed en- 
tire in Lysons' " Environs," vol. i. p. 226. 
The bells for the dancers are also charged) 
in the accounts of St. Mary-at-Hill. Lon- 
don, (34 Eliz.) and St. Helen's in Abing- 
don, Berks. Morrico-danoing, witli 
bells on the legs, continued to be com- 
mon in and after Brand's time, in Oxford- 
shire and the adjacent counties, on May 
Day, Holy Thursday, and Whitsun Ales, 
attended by the fool (? Tom the Piper), 
or, as he is generally called, the Squire, 
and also a lord and lady. As to the Fool 
and Bessy, they have probably been de- 
rived to us from the ancient festival of 
Fools, held on New Year's Day. Bess 
was a common generic term for a female 
Tom-a-Bedlam. Waldron mentions see- 
ing a company of Morris-dancers from 
Abington at Richmond in Surrey, in the 
summer of 1783. They appeared to be- 
making a kind of annual circuit. In 
" Plaine Percivall the Peace-maker of 
England," mention is made of a "stran- 
ger, which seeing a quintessence (beside- 
the Foole and the Maid Marian) of alt 
the picked youth, strained out of a whole 
endship, footing the Morris about a May- 
pole, and he not hearing the minstrelsio' 
for the fidling, the tune for the sound, nor 
the pipe for the noise of the tabor, bluntly 
demaunded if they were not all beside- 
themselves, that they so lip'd and skip'd 
without an occasion." In Pasquil and Mar- 
forius, 1589, the same author turns to his. 
own account the May-games and the mor- 
ris-dance, and applies them figuratively 
to some of the incidents and actors in the- 
Martin-Marprelate controversy. Shake- 
spear makes mention of an English Whit- 
son Morrice Dance, in the following speech- 
of the Dauphin in Hen. V. : 

"No, with no more, than if we heard 

that England 
Were busied with a Whitson Morrice- 

Dance." 

" The English were famed," says Grey, 
in his "Notes on Shakespear, "for these- 
and such like diversions ; and even the 
old, as well as young persons, formerly 
followed them ; a remarkable instance of 
which is given by Sir William Temple." 
Among the Huth ballads is one entitled 
' ' Good Fellowes must go learne toi 
Dance." It is of some merit, and has a. 
share of that sparkling style, which dis- 
tinguishes the versification of Suckling. 
The guests at an approaching wedding, 
are the supposed speakers in the follow- 
ing passage : 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



425. 



" A bande of belles, in bauderycke wise, 

Would deoke vs in our kynde a ; 
A shurte after the Moryce guyse. 

To flounce it in the wynde a. 
A wyfBer for to make the waye, 

And Maye brought in withall a, 
Is brauer then the sunne, I saye, 

And passeth round or brail a." 

Nash, who wrote nothing probably after 
1600, describes in his " Summers Last 
Will and Testament," printed in that 
year, the fool as going round and collect- 
ing the money from the crowd. At an 
earlier date we hear of a ladle suspended 
from the beast's mouth, as a receptacle 
for public contributions. In Nash's play 
three clowns and three maids, while they 
dance, sing the following lines in chorus : 

" Trip and goe, heave and hoe. 
Up and downe, to and fro, 
From the towne, to the grove. 
Two and two, let us rove, 
A Maying, a playing ; 
Love hath no gainsaying : 
So merrily trip and goe." 

The author of Friar Bacons Prophesie, 
1004, recalling better times, says in his 
poem : 

" The Taber and the Pipe, 
The Bagpipe and the Crowde, 
When oates and rye were ripe, 
Began to be alowde. 
But till the harvest all was in. 
The Moris Dance did not begin." 

But now, he adds further on : 

" Moris dances doe begin 

Before the harvest halfe be in." 

The following description of a Morrice 
Dance occurs in Rablet's " Cobbes Pro- 
phecies," 1614 : 

' It was my hap of late, by chance. 
To meet a country morris dance. 
When, cheefest of them all, the foole 
Plaied with a ladle and a toole ; 
When every younger shak't his bells 
Till sweating feet gave fohing smells; 
And fine Maide Marian, with her smoile, 
Shew'd how a rascall plaid the roile : 
But, when the hobby-horse did wihy. 
Then all the wenches gave a tihy : 
But when they gan to shake their boxe, 
And not a goose could catch a foxe. 
The piper then put up his pipes. 
And all the woodcocks look't like snipes, 
And therewith fell a show'ry streame," 
&c., &c. 

There is another in Cotgrave's "English 
Treasury of Wit and Language," 1655: 

"How they become the morris, with 

whose bells 
They ring all in to Whitson ales, and 

sweat 



Through twenty scarfs and napkins till 

the hobby horse 
Tire, and the Maid Marian, resolv'd to 

jelly, 
Be kept for spoon meat." 

We have an allusion to the morris dancer 
in the preface to the Candid and Ingeni- 
ous Reader prefixed to " Mythomistes," 
circa 1625, by Henry Reynolds: "Yet 
such helpes, as if nature have not before- 
hand in his byrth, given a poet, all such 
forced art will come behind as lame to the 
businesse, and deficient, as the best taught 
countrey morris dauncer, with all his bells- 
and napkins, will ill deserve to be, in an 
Inne or Courte at Christmas, tearmed the 
thing they call a fine reveller." In his- 
" London and the countrey Carbona- 
doed," 1632, Lupton says, relative to the- 
landlady at an ale-house : "Shee is merry,. 
and half-made (mad) upon Shrove-tues- 
day, May-daies, Feast-dayes, and Morris- 
dances." Stevenson, in "The Twelve- 
Moneths," 1661, p. 17, speaking of April, 
tells us : " The youth of the country make 
ready for the Morris-dance, and the merry 
milk-maid supplies them with ribbands- 
her true love had given her." The ab- 
horrence of the Puritans to this diversion 
in toto is depicted in Beaumont and 
Fletcher's "Women pleased." 

Walpole, or rather Vertue, in his "Cata- 
logue of Engravers," under Peter Stent, 
has described two paintings at Lord Fitz- 
william's (rather coarsely and poorly exe- 
cuted) by Vinckenboom, about the end of 
the reign of James I., in one of which a 
morris-dance is introduced, consisting of 
seven figures, viz., a fool, a hobby horse, 
a piper, a Maid Marian, and three dan- 
cers. A reduced copy is given by Douce- 
from a tracing by Grose. 

In Old Change, according to the 
" History of Sign-Boards," 1867, there- 
was a sign called "The Three Morris- 
Dancers," in the time of Charles- 
II. See, for fuller particulars of this 
subject, Deuce's " Dissertation on the- 
ancient English Morris Dance," at 
the end of his "Illustrations of Shakes- 
pear," 1807. 

Mortuaries. — The payment of mor- 
tuaries is of great antiquity- It was an- 
ciently done by leading or driving a horse- 
or cow, &c. before the corpse of the de- 
ceased at the funeral. It was considered 
as a gift left by a man at his death, by 
way of recompense for all failures in the 
payment of tithes and oblations, and 
called a corse present. It is mentioned 
in the National Council of Ensham about 
the year 1006. Mortuaries were called 
by our Saxon ancestors Soul shot 
or payment. " Offeringes at Buri- 
alles " are condemned in a list of " Grosse- 
Poyntes of Poperie, evident to all Men," 



424 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



in "A Parte of a Register," &c. (circa 
1593). 

It was on mortuaries, and on an 
annual poll-tax of three hens, which he 
received from the population of a parti- 
cular district that the Bishop of Onvolo, 
one of the old Venetian Sees, almost 
wholly relied for his income ; and on the 
former account he was jocularly called 
the Bishop of the Dead. Hazlitt's Vene- 
tian Republic, 1900, ii., 384. 

Most in Three Throvws.— This 
amusement is cited in the dedication to 
Lilly of Pantagruel's Prognostication, 
about 1645 ; but we are left to conjecture 
its nature. 

Mote Bell, Folk. — Ruffhead, 
speaking of the folc-mote comitatus, or 
shire-mote, and the folc-mote civitatis vel 
burgi, or burg-mote, says : " Besides these 
annual meetings, if any sudden contin- 
gency happened^, it was the duty of the 
aldermen of cities and boroughs to ring 
the bell called in English Mot-bell, in 
order to bring together the people to the 
Burghmote," &c. Preface to the Statutes 
at large. See Tomlins Law Diet., 1835, 
V. Mote-Bell. The Mot-Bell is mentioned 
in the laws of Edward the Confessor. 

Mothering;. — In former days, when 
the Roman Catholic was the established 
religion, it was the custom for people 
to visit their Mother Church on Mid- 
Ivent Sunday, and to make their 
•offerings at the high altar. Cowel, 
in his " Interpreter," 1607, observes 
that the now remaining practice of 
Mothering, or going to visit parents 
upon Mid-Lent Sunday, is really owing to 
that good old custom. Nay, it seems to 
be called Mothering from the respect so 
paid to the Mother Church, when the 
epistle for the day was, with some allu- 
sion, Galat, iv. 21, " Jerusalem Mater 
omnium," ; which epistle for Mid-Lent 
Sunday we still retain, though we have 
forgotten the occasion of it. Herrick has 
the following : 

TO DIANEME. 

A Ceremonie in Gloccster. 

" I'le to thee a Simnell bring, 

'Gainst thou go'st a mothering ; 

So that, when she blesseth thee. 

Half that blessing thou'lt give me." 

In the "Gentleman's Magazine" for 
Tebruary, 1784, p. 98, Nichols tells us, 
that whilst he was an apprentice, the cus- 
tom was to visit his mother (who was a 
native of Nottinghamshire) "on Midlent 
Sunday (thence called Mothering Sunday) 
for a regale of excellent furmety." An- 
other writer in the same volume, p. 343, 
says, I happened to reside last year near 
Chepstow, in Monmouthshire ; and there, 
for the first time, heard of Mothering 



Sunday. My inquires into the origin 
and meaning of it were fruitless ; but the 
practice thereabouts was, for all servants 
and apprentices, on Midlent Sunday, to 
visit their parents, and make them a pre- 
sent of money, a trinket, or some nice 
eatable ; and they are all anxious not to 
fail in this custom." A correspondent in 
the volume for 1788, p. 578, expresses an 
opinion that Furmety or Mothering Sun- 
dliy was " one of the things which prob- 
ably refer simply to the idea of feasting 
or mortification according to the season 
and occasion." In Macaulay's time, 
Mothering Sunday met with a scrupulous 
observance at Claybrook. "Hist, and 
Antiq. of Claybrook," 1791, p. 128. At 
Leckford, near Stockbridge, Hants, this 
is called Wafering Sunday, from the 
wafer-cake impressed with an iron bear- 
ing an impression like a seal, offered by 
young people to their mothers on this occa- 
sion. The iron has two stamps; three 
locked hearts surmounted by a cross en- 
closed within a circle, and an anchor with 
foliate ornaments on either side. Two or 
three of these utensils, which were made 
red-hot over a charcoal fire, seem to suffice 
for the village, which employs a person 
named a waferer to do the work. Anti- 
quary for May, 1893. 

Mother Nigrht.^A writer (Beck- 
with) in the "Gentleman's Magazine" 
for 1784, p. 97, observes that the night of 
the winter solstice was called by our an- 
cestors " Mother Night," as they reckoned 
the beginning of their years from thence. 

Mount-Cent. — See Gent-Foot and 
Nares, 1859, in v. In the Dumb Knight, 
1608 (Hazlitt's Dodsley, x, 186), Philocles 
calls it Mount-Saint, and founds a com- 
pliment on it ; but the queen corrects him 
and explains that the true name is mount- 
cent. The passage in the drama perhaps 
affords the best notion of the game. It 
has been supposed to be the same as 
picquet. In a facetious publication of the 
17th c. Mars is introduced playing at 
cent with Venus. Bodamontate 6 Bra- 
vate Spagnole, 1693, p. 71, part of The 
Eloquent Master of Languages, 1693. 

Mourningr- — Gough gives us numer- 
ous references to the classics to prove that 
the colour of mourning garments has, in 
most instances, been black from the ear- 
liest antiquity. Sejy. Mon., ii., Introd. 
XX. Polydore Vergil has a passage to 
this effect : " Plutarch writeth that the 
women in their mournyng laied a parte 
all purple, golde, and sumptuous apparell, 
and were clothed bothe they and their 
kinsfolk in white apparel, like as then the 
dead body was wrapped in white clothes. 
The white coloure was thought fittest for 
the ded, because it is clere, pure, and sin- 
cer, and leaste defiled. Of this ceremonie, 
as I take it, the French Queues toke ocoa- 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



425 



sion, after the death of their housebandes 
the Kynges, to weare ouely white cloth- 
jng, and if there bee any suche wid- 
•dowe, she is commonly called the White 
Quene." Dupre tells us that the ancient 
Romans employed certain persons, named 
Designatores, clothed in black, to invite 
people to funerals, and to carry the coffin. 
There are persons in our days who wear 
the same clothing, and serve the same 
office. The Romans, saith MaroUes, had 
in their ceremonies lictors, dressed in 
black, who did the office of our mourners. 
Conformity, p. 181. A writer in the 
"Gentleman's Magazine" for January, 
1781, says: "We read in the Antiquities 
of Greece and Rome, that the branches of 
■^^ ithe Cypress and Yew were the usual sig- 
nals to denote a house in mourning. 
<iough, speaking of the signs of death in 
houses among the ancients, notices 
branches of pine and cypress on the autho- 
rity of Euripides, Suetonius and Virgil. 
He says, in a note, " Will it be thought a 
far-fetcht conjecture that yew trees in 
■church yards supply the place of Cyprus 
round tombs, where Ovid, Trist. III. xiii. 
■21, says they were placed. Comp. Flowers 
on Graves, Funeral Customs, &c. Duran- 
dus mentions black as anciently in use at 
funerals, which St. Cyprian seems to have 
inveighed against as the indication of sor- 
row on an event which to the Christian 
was a matter of joy. De Ritibus, 225. 
Cyprian's words are : " Cum sciamus fra- 
■tres nostros accersione dominica de Seculo 
liberates, non amitti sed prsemitti, non 
sunt nobis hie accipiendte atrse vestes, 
quando illi ibi indumenta alba jam sump- 
serint." It is stated that " Black is the 
fittest emblem of that sorrow and grief 
the mind is supposed to be clouded with ; 
and, as Death is the privation of Life, 
and black a privation of Light, 'tis very 
probable this colour has been chosen to 
■denote sadness, upon that account ; and 
accordingly this colour has, for mourning, 
been preferred by most people throughout 
Europe. The Syrians, Cappadocians, 
and Armenians use sky-colour, to denote 
■the place they wi.sh the dead to be in, i.e., 
the Heavens ; the Egyptians yellow, or 
fillemot, to show that as herbs being faded 
become yellow, so death is the end of 
human hope : and the Ethiopians grey, 
because it resembles the colour of the 
Earth, which receives the dead." Dun- 
ton's Athenian Oracle Suppl., 301. Yel- 
low is the usual mourning colour in some 
countries, as much as white and black are 
in Europe. White and black not being 
colours at all in strictness, may be con- 
sidered as occupying the same neutral 
position : but, as Brand observes, the 
former is used only at the obse- 
■quies of unmarried persons (and not 



always then) and very young children. 
Crimson would have been a much more 
suitable colour. The Bretons formerly 
employed yellow for this purpose, and 
even now, in Lower Brittany, saffron is 
recognised. Granger tells us, "It is re- 
corded that Anne Boleyn wore yellow 
mourning for Catherine of Arragon." 
For his authority ho refers to Walpole's 
"Anecdotes of Painting." The same cir- 
cumstance is found in Hall's " Chron- 
icle," with the addition of Henry's wear- 
ing white mourning for Anne Boleyn. 
But in the time of the Stuarts purple was 
regarded as royal mourning. Pepys's 
Diary, September 16, 1660, and Note. 

In the sixteenth century at Venice both 
scarlet and violet are found in use at the 
obsequies of a Doge ; but the head of the 
eldest son of the deceased was draped in 
black. Hazlitt's Venetian Bepublic, 
1900, ii., 175. Violet was the colour em- 
ployed at Rome in 1903 at the demise of 
His Holiness Leo XIII. 

AVe read in Gough's Camden: "When 
a person is at the point of death, 
just before he expires, certain women 
mourners, standing in the cross-ways, 
spread their hands, and call him 
with cries adapted to the purpose, 
and endeavour to stop the departing soul, 
reminding it of the advantages it enjoys 
in goods, wives, person, reputation, kin- 
dred, friends, and horses : asking why it 
will go, and where, and to whom, and up- 
braiding it with ingratitude, and lastly, 
complaining that the departing spirit 
will be transformed into those forms TOich 
appear at night and in the dark : and 
after it has quitted the body, they bewail 
it with bowlings and clapping of hands. 
They follow the fvmeral with such a noise, 
that one would think there was an end both 
of living and dead. The most violent in 
these lamentations are the nurses, 
daughters, and mistresses. They make as 
much lamentation for those slain in battle 
as for those who die in their beds, though 
they esteem it the easiest death to die 
fighting or robbing ; but they vent every 
reproach against their enemies, and che- 
rish a lasting deadly hatred against all 
their kindred." Braithwaite, speaking 
of the death of " a zealous brother," says : 
" Some mourners hee hath of his owne, 
who howle not so much that hee should 
leave them, as that nothing is left them " 
W/nwzi'c.i, 1631, p. 207. 

Ill England it was formerly the fashion 
to mourn a year for very near relations. 
Thus Pope : 

" Grieve for an hour perhaps, then 
mourn a year." 

A writer of the early part of last cen- 
tury remarked a practice of the common 
people in some localities of tying a dirty 



4'26 



NATIONAL I<AnH^ 



cloth about their heads when they appear 
as chief mourners at a funeral. Pennant, 
in his "Tour in Scotland," 1769, remarks 
a singular custom in many parts of North 
Britain, of painting, on the doors and 
window-shutters, white tadpole-like fig- 
ures, on a black ground, designed to ex- 
press the tears of the country for the loss 
of any person of distinction. Nothing 
seems wanting to render this mode of ex- 
pressing sorrow completely ridiculous, but 
the subjoining of a " N.B. These are 
tears." I saw a door that led into a 
family vault in Kelso Churchyard in 1785, 
which was painted over in the above man- 
ner with very large ones. In the 18th cen- 
tury, a writer from Galston, co. Ayr, in- 
forms us that it was usual " for even the 
women to attend funerals in the village, 
dressed in black or red cloaks." Stat. 
Ace. of Scotland, ii., 80. Women, and 
even ladies^ sometimes follow the dead, 
especially (in the former case) among the 
poor, and in the latter, where the de- 
ceased is a child. At the obsequies of a 
person of high rank, it often happens that, 
where the funeral takes place (as indeed 
it usually does) in the country, one or two 
of the nearest female relatives claim the 
right of accompanying the remains. The 
same thing is occasionally witnessed in 
large towns, and among the middle classes 
I believe that the custom is growing more 
and more common. Some curious parti- 
culars on this subject may be seen in 
Pegge's Curialia, 1818, pp. 314-16. 

Mournival or Murniva.1. — A term 
of the game of gleek — four cards of a sort. 
Comp. Nares, Glossary, 1859, in v. 

Mourre. — See Cinque. 
Mouseear or Scorpion-Grass. 

— (Myosotis). Lupton, in his third book 
of "Notable Things," quoting Mizal- 
dus, says: " Mousear, any manner 
of way ministered to horses, brings 
this help unto them, that they can- 
not be hurt, while the smith is shooing of 
them, therfore it is called of many, herba 
clavorum, the herb of nails." Edit. 1660, 
lib. 3, p. 53. 

Mowing'. — We learn from Bridges, 
that : " Within the Liberty of Warkworth 
is Ashe Meadow, divided amongst the 
neighbouring parishes, and famed for the 
following customs observed in the mowing 
of it. The meadow is divided into fifteen 
portions, answering to fifteen lots, which 
are pieces of wood cut off from an arrow, 
and marked according to the landmarks 
in the field. To each lot are allowed eight 
mowers, amounting to one hundred and 
twenty in the whole. On the Saturday 
sevennight after Midsummer Day, these 
portions are laid out by six persons, of 
whom two are chosen from Warkworth, 
two from Overthorp, one from Grimsbury 



and one from Nethercote. These are called 
Field-men, and have an entertainment 
provided for them upon the day of lay- 
ing out the meadow, at the appointment 
of the Lord of the Manor. As soon as the 
meadow is measured, the man who pro- 
vides the feast, attended by the Hay-ward 
of Warkworth, brings into the field three 
gallons of ale. After this the meadow is 
run, as they term it, or trod, to distin- 
guish the lots ; and^ when this is over, the 
Hay-ward brings into the field a rump 
of beef, six penny loaves, and three gallons 
of ale, and is allowed a certain portion of 
hay in return, though not of equal value 
with his provision. This hay-ward, and the 
Master of the feast, have the name of 
crocus-men. In running the field each 
man hath a boy allowed to assist him. 
On Monday morning lots are drawn, con- 
sisting some of eight swaths and others of 
four. Of these the first and last carry 
the garlands. The two first lots are of 
four swaths, and whilst these are mowing 
the mowers go double ; and, as soon as 
these are finished, the following orders 
are read aloud : ' Oyez, Oyez, Oyez, I 
charge you, under God, in his Majesty's 
name, that you keep the King's peace in 
the Lord of the Manor's behalf, accord- 
ing to the Orders and Customs of this 
meadow. No man or men shall go before 
the two garlands ; if you do you shall pay 
your penny, or deliver your scythe at the 
first demand, and this so often as you 
shall transgress. No man, nor men, shall 
mow above eight swaths over their lots, 
before they lay down their scythes and go 
to breakfast. No man, or men, shall mow 
any farther than Monks-holm-Brook, but 
leave their scythes there, and go to din- 
ner ; according to the custom and manner 
of this Manor. God save the King !' The 
dinner, provided by the Lord of the 
Manor's tenant, consists of three cheese- 
cakes, three cakes, and a new milk-cheese. 
The cakes and cheese-cakes are of the size 
of a winnowing-sieve ; and the person who 
brings them is to have three gallons of 
ale. The master of the feast is paid in 
hay, and is farther allowed to turn all 
his cows into the meadow on Saturday 
morning till eleven o'clock ; that by this 
means giving the more milk the cakes 
may be made the bigger. Other like cus- 
toms are observed in the mowing of other 
meadows in this parish." Northampton- 
shire, i., 219. See Harvest. 

Muffin Bell. — The itinerant vendor 
of muffins and crumpets still haunts some 
of the outlying parts of London, and car- 
ries a bell to announce his approach. His 
basket is borne on his head. The usage 
goes back to a time when these delectable 
comestibles were not merely manufac- 
tured only by a few firms, but were not 
generally sold by the bakers. The trade 



ANTTTOFULAR CUSTOMS. 



remains a special and limited one ; but 
the bell and its owner have become, like 
the church bell in the universality of 
<;looks and watches, an anachronism. 

Muffling^i — See Newcastle-on-Tyne. 

Mumble a Sparrow. — Grose 
mentions "Mumble a Sparrow: a cruel 
sport practiced at wakes and fairs in the 
following manner : a cock-sparrow, whose 
wings are clipped, is put into the crown of 
a hat ; a man, having his arms tied be- 
hind him, attempts to bite off the spar- 
row's head, but is generally obliged to 
desist by the many pecks and pinches he 
receives from the enraged bird." 

Mumchance. — An early game of 
•chance played with money and dice, as 
we perceive from a passage in Cavendish's 
Life of Wolsey; but the exact particulars 
do not seem to be farther known. In the 
later authorities cited by Nares there is 
no explanation ; in one from Decker's 
Belinan, 1608, cards are mentioned ; and 
we are told that the name was owing to 
the necessary silence to be observed. 
Doubtless the parties engaged, when 
heavy stakes were on, held their peace 
through suspense. The issue, it appears 
from Cavendish, who describes the Car- 
dinal himself taking part in a turn, de- 
pended on the cast of the dice. In 1597 
was published a tract entitled JMihil Mum- 
chance, his Discoverie of the Art of Cheat- 
ing^ in false Dice play; no doubt, in this 
as in other amusements of the kind a good 
deal of trickery prevailed. 

Mumming:.— Mumming is a Christ- 
mas sport, which consists in changing 
clothes between men and women who, 
when dressed in each other's habits, 
go from one neighbour's house to another, 
partaking of Christmas cheer, and mak- 
ing merry -nith them in disguise. Mum- 
ming is supposed to have been originally 
instituted m imitation of the Sigillaria, 
•or festival days, added to the ancient 
Saturnalia, and condemned by the Synod 
of Trullus (Thurles), where it was decreed 
that the days called the Calends should 
tie entirely stripped of their ceremonies, 
and that the faithful should no longer ob- 
serve them, that the public dancings of 
women should cease, as being the occasion 
of much harm and ruin, and as being in- 
vented and observed in honour of the gods 
of the heathens, and therefore quite 
averse to the Christian life. They there- 
fore decreed that no man should be clothed 
with a woman's garment, nor any woman 
with a man's. The same prohibition was 
published by the Council which met at 
•Constantinople in 690-1, in its 62nd 
Canon. "The disguisyng and mummyng 
that is used in Christemas tyme," Lang- 
ley observes in his synopsis of Polydore 
Virgil, "in the Northe partes came out 



4^ 

of the feastes of Pallas, that were done 
with visars and painted visages, named 
Quinqatria of the Romaynes." Aubanus, 
speaking of mumming in Germany, says, 
that in the ancient Saturnalia there were 
frequent and luxurious feastings amongst 
friends : presents were mutually sent, and 
changes of dress made : that Christians 
have adopted the same customs, which 
continue to be used from the Nativity to 
the Epiphany : that exchanges of dresa 
too, as of old among the Romans, are com- 
mon, and neighbours by mutual invita- 
tions visit each other in the manner which 
the Germans call mummery. He adds 
that, as the heathens had their Saturnalia 
in December, their Sigillaria in January, 
and the Lupercalia and Bacchanalia in 
February, so, amongst Christians, these 
three months are devoted to feastings and 
revellings of every kind. Ihre speaks of 
the sort of mummery practiced in his time 
and before by the youth, who put on the 
forms of rams, and in that shape ran about 
molesting passengers and others. He 
seems disposed to identify this custom 
with that described by other writers, in 
which a stag, instead of a ram, used to be 
counterfeited in the same way. Bishop 
Faustinus in his sermon for the Kalends 
of January, asks whether any sensible 
person can credit, that people in their 
right minds could be found so silly as to 
put on the likeness of a deer, while others 
dressed themselves in the hides of cattle, 
others wore the heads of beasts, and trans- 
formed themselves so that they ceased to 
look like human beings. This was not 

Eeculiar to the Continent, but appears to 
ave been practiced among us formerly on 
more than one of the merry-makings in- 
grafted on the original holy feasts of the 
early Christian Church. " Glossarium 
Suio-Gothicum," 1769, v. Jul. ; Du Cange 
" Gloss." Art. Pelota. 

Dr. Johnson was disposed to look 
on these extravagances as a probable 
vestige of the Festival of Fools. It 
appears from Henry (" History of Brit- 
ain," vol. iv. p. 602) that "in 
the year 1348, eighty tunics of 
buckram, forty-two visors, and a great 
variety of other whimsical dresses, 
were provided for the disguising at 
court at the feast of Christmas." 
Stow has preserved an account of 
a remarkable mummery made in 1377 
by the citizens of London for the amuse- 
ment of the son of the Black Prince : 

"On the Sunday before Candlemas, in 
the night, one hundred and thirty citi- 
zens, disguised, and well horsed, in a 
mummerie, with sound of trumpets, sack- 
buts, cornets, shalmes and other minstrels, 
and innumerable torch-lights of waxe, 
rode to Kennington, beside Lambeth, 
where the young Prince remayned with 



428 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



his mother. In the first rank did ride 
forty-eight in likeness and habit of es- 
quires, two and two together, clothed in 
red coats, and gowns or say, or sandall, 
with comely visors on their faces. After 
them came forty-eight knights, in the 
same livery. Then followed one richly 
arrayed, like an emperour : and after him 
some distance, one stately tyred, like a 
pope, whom followed twenty-four cardi- 
nals ; and, after them, eight or ten with 
black visors, not amiable, as if they had 
been legates from some forrain princes. 
These maskers, after they had entered the 
manner of Kennington, alighted from 
their horses, and enter'd the hall on foot ; 
which done, the Prince, his mother, and 
the Lords, came out of the chamber into 
the hall, whom the mummers did salute ; 
shewing, by a paire of dice upon the table, 
their desire to play with the young 
prince, which they so handled, that the 
Prince did alwaies winne when he cast 
them. Then the mummers set to the 
Prince three jewels, one after another ; 
which were, a boule of gold, a cup of gold, 
and a ring of gold, which the Prince 
wanne at three casts. Then they set to 
the Princes Mother, the Duke, the Earles, . 
and other lords, to every one a ring of 
gold, when they did also win. After which 
they were feasted, and the musick 
sounded, the Prince and lords daunced 
on the one part with the mummers, 
which did also dance ; which jollitie 
being ended, they were again made 
to drink, and then departed in order 
as they came." "The like," he says, 
"was to King Henry the Fourth, 
in the second year of his reign, 
hee then keeping his Christmas at Elt- 
ham ; twelve aldermen of London and 
their sonnes rode a mumming, and had 
great thanks." Survey, 1603, p. 97. We 
read of another mumming in Henry IV.'s 
time in Fabyan : "In whiche passe tyme 
the Dukys of Amnarle, of Surrey, and of 
Excetyr, with the Erlys of Salesbury 
and of Gloucetyr, with other of their affy- 
nyte, made provysion for a dysguysynge 
or a mummynge, to be shewyd to the 
Kynge upon Twelfethe Nyght, and the 
tyme was nere at hande. and all thynge 
redy for the same. Upon the sayd 
Twelfthe Day, came secretlye unto the 
Kynge the Duke of Amnarle, and shewyd 
to hym, that he, wyth the other Lordys 
aforenamyd, were appoynted to sle hym 
in the tyme of the fore sayd disguy.synge." 
So that this mumming, it should seem, 
had like to have proved a very serious 
jest. Chronicle, 1516, fol. 169. In the 
" Paston Letters," in a letter dated Dec. 
24th, 1484, we read that Lady Morley, 
on account of the death of her lord, July 
23, directing what sports were to be used 
in her house at Christmas, ordered that 



" there were none disguisings, nor harp- 
ing, nor luting, nor singing; nor none 
loud disports; but playing at the tables, 
and chess, and cards ; such disports she 
gave her folks leave to play, and none 
other." 

Northbrooke observes : " In the reign of 
King Henrie the eyght (An. 3. H. VIII.) 
it was ordeyned, that if anye persons did 
disguise themselues in apparel, and couer 
their faces with visors, gathering a com- 
panye togither, naming themselues mum- 
m.ers, which vse to come to the dwelling- 
places of men of honour, and other sub- 
stantiall persons, whereupon murders, 
felonie, rape, and other great hurts and 
inconueniencies haue aforetime growen 
and hereafter bee like to come, by the 
colour thereof, if the said disorder should 
continue not reformed, &c. : that then 
they shoulde be arrested by the King's, 
liege people as vagabondes, and bee com- 
mitted to the gaole without bayle or main- 
prise, for the space of three monethes, 
and to fine at the King's pleasure : and 
euery one that keepeth anye visors in his- 
house, to forfeyte xxs." Treatise against 
Dicing 1577, repr. 1843. In Lodge's 
Wits Miserie, 1596, is the following pas- 
sage : "I thinke in no time Jerome had 
better cause to crie out on pride then in 
this, for painting, now-a-daies, is growne 
to such a custome, that from the swart- 
faste devil in the kitchin to the fairest 
damsel in the cittie, the most part looke 
like wizards for a Momerie, rather then 
Christians trained in sobrietie." In the 
interlude of the "Marriage of Wit and 
Wisdom," Idleness says : 

" — Now I have never a crose to bless© 
me, 

Now I go a-mumming. 
Like a poore pennilesse spirit, 

Without pipe or drummg !" 

In a former passage, Snatch says : 

" Where I lay last night, I stole away 

a sheete : 
We will take this and tie it to his hed. 
And soe we will blind him ; 
And sirra, I charge you, when you here 

Any body comming, 
If they aske you any question, say you 
goe 

A-mumming." 

The following is from Aubrey's " Collec- 
tions for North Wilts," 1678: "Hereto- 
fore noblemen and gentlemen of fair es- 
tates had their heralds, who wore their 
coat of arms at Christmas, and at other 
solemn times, and cried largesse thrice. 
.... In days of yore lords and gentle- 
men lived in the country like petty kings. 
.... They always eat in Gothick halls, 

at the high table or oreille (oriel) 

Here in the hall, the mumming and loaf- 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



429, 



stealing, and other Christmas sports, were 
performed." Edit. 1859, 40^ In "Round 
about our Coal Fire," (circa 1730) I find 
the following: "Then comes mumming 
and masquerading, when the squire's 
wardrobe is ransacked for dresses of all 
kinds. Corks are burnt to black the faces 
of the fair, or make deputy mustacios, 
and every one in the family, except the 
squire himself, must bo transformed." At 
Tiverton, in Devon, a custom, probably 
dating from 1660, prevailed formerly of 
forming a procession of .young men, 
dressed in the old fashion and armed with 
swords, for the purpose of levying black- 
mail on the inhabitants. It was headed 
by a sort of Merry-Andrew, called Master 
Oliver, who was pelted by the boys, the 
latter taking care not to let him catch 
them. There was a feast in the evening. 
Mr. Brand once saw in a printing office 
at Newcastle-upon-Tyne several carols 
for this season ; for the Nativity, St. Ste- 
phen's Day, Childermas Day, &c., with 
Alexander and the King of Egypt, u mock 
play, usually acted about this time, by 
mummers. The conclusion of this bom- 
ba.stic play is in my Collection of Pro- 
verbs, 1882: 

"Bounce, Buckram, velvet's dear; 
Christmas comes but once a year : 
And when it comes, it brings good 

cheer : 
Bub when it's gone, it's never the 

near." 
" Bounce, Buckram," &c., seems to in- 
timate an inability on the part of the 
bouncers or mummers to afford velvet and 
their adoption of the cheaper material. 
Shakespear may have had the latter in 
his mind when he attired in buckram 
the imaginary antagonists of Falstaff 
(Henry IV. part 1, ii, 4). Brand's 
reflections that follow are equally new 
and excellent: the " carpe diem" of Ho- 
race is included in them, and, if I mistake 
not, the good advice is seldom thrown 
away. Subjoined is a Somersetshire 
mummer's song : 

" Here comes I, liddle man Jan, 
With my zword in my han ! 
If you don't all do. 

As you be told by I, 
I'll zend you all to York, 
Vor to make apple-pie." 

Mr. Halliwell, "Illustrations of Early 
English Literature," 1849, has printed 
" A Christmas Play, Performed by the 
Derbyshire Mummers," which does not 
appear to contain anything worth extract- 
ing. A version of this, said to be current 
in Worcestershire, may be found in 
'_' Notes and Queries," 2nd S. xi., 271. It 
is to be apprehended, however, that the 
old rural practice is degenerating into a 



piece of doggerel recitative supplied by 
metropolitan caterers. 

Johnson tells us in his " Journey 
to the Western Islands," that a 
gentleman informed him of what he- 
(Johnson) considered to be an odd 
game : At New Year's Eve, in the hall or 
castle of the laird, where at festal seasons- 
there may be supposed a very numerous 
company, one man dresses himself in a 
cow s hide, upon which other men beat 
with sticks. He runs with all this noise- 
round the house, which all the company 
quits in a counterfeited fright ; the door 
is then shut. At New Year's Eve, there- 
is no great pleasure to be had out of doors 
in the Hebrides. They are sure soon to 
recover from their terror enough to solicit 
for re-admission : which, for the honour 
of poetry, is not to be obtained but by 
repeating a verse, with which those that 
are knowing and provident take care to 
be furnished. The learned traveller tells 
us that they who played at this odd game, 
gave no account of the origin of it, and, 
that he described it as it might perhaps, 
be used in other places, where the reason 
of it is not yet forgotten. 

Muscadel. — It is difiicult to know 
whether the following passage from Flet- 
cher's Drama of the " Pilgrim," 1621, is. 
to be interpreted literally — I should pre- 
sume not : 

" Alphonso. Away with him ! 

Fling him i' th' hay-mow, — let him lie 
a-mellowing ; 

He stinks of Muscadel like an English 
Christmas." 

Musical Chairs. — A drawing-room 
amusement, where one of the company per- 
forms on the piano, and, a double row of 
chairs having been placed in a line, back 
to back, the rest make the circuit, till the 
pianist abruptly comes to a stop, and the 
humour or fun consists in the number of 
players exceeding that of chairs by one 
or two, so that there must always be one 
or two out, when the scramble for seats, 
on the conclusion of the music, takes- 
place. 

Muss. — Rabelais mentions a Muss 
among Gargantua's Games. Book i. 
cap. 22. And in another place, book iii. 
cap. 40, it is facetiously suggested that it 
owes its name to Muschus, the inventor 
thereof, and it is said to be honest, health- 
ful, ancient, and lawful. In Shakespear's 
Antony and Cleopatra, it is thus men- 
tioned : 

_4„{. " When I cry'd. Ho ! 

Like boys unto a Muss, Kings would 
start forth, 

And cry, your Will !" 

It also occurs in Jonson's Magnetic 
Lady, iv., 3. 



430 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



My Sow has Pigrgred. — Taylor 
the Water-poet refers to this game 
•of cards in his " Motto," 1621 ; it is 
thus spoken of in " Poor Robin's 
Almanac" for 1734: "The lawyers play 
xit beggar my neighbour ; the new- 
marry'd couples play at put ; the doc- 
tors and surgeons at thrust out rotten, 
but if they eat with a man that is so eat 
•■up with the pox that he is all compos'd of 
that sort or metal, they thrust out all 
together ; the farmers play at My Sow's 
.pigg'd ; the schoolmasters play at ques- 
>tions and commands ; and because every 
man ought to mind his business, he that 
plays most at all sorts of gaming, com- 
monly at last plays a game at hide and 
seek, and cares not to leave off till he has 
got the rubbers." Mr. H alii well says : 
' ' The following distich is used in this 
game : 

' Higgory diggory, digg'd, 
My sow has pigg'd.' " 
— Popular Bhymes and Nursery Tales 
1849, p. 114. Comp. p. 90 supra. 

Mysteries. — For notices of the ex- 
isting collections, see Hazlitt's Biblio- 
.graphical Manual of Old English Plays, 
1892, p. 274. Pennant draws attention to 
the notices by Clarke in his Letters on 
Spain of dramatic performances there in 
.comparatively modern times analogous to 
the English Mysteries. Tours in Wales, 
1810, i., 194. In Quaritch's Catalogue 
for 1892 was the MS. of the Towneley 
Mysteries, printed for the Surtees Soc- 
liety, and wanting 24 leaves, with an in- 
teresting note. This series corresponds 
most closely with the York one. 

Na.ils< — There was anciently a species 
of divination called onychomancy, or ony- 
mancy, performed by the nails of an un- 
polluted boy. Vestiges of this are still 
retained. Sir Thomas Browne admits 
that " Conjectures of prevalent hiimours 
may be collected from the spots in our 
nails," but rejects the sundry divina- 
tions vulgarly raised upon them : such as 
"that spots on the top of the nails sig- 
nify things past, in the middle things 
present, and, at the bottom, events to 
come. That white specks presage our 
felicity, blue ones our misfortunes ; that 
those in the nail of the thumb have signi- 
fications of honour ; of the fore-finger 
riches." Burton tells us, that a black 
spot appearing on the nails is a bad omen. 
Burton, giving in his Astrologaster, 1620, 
a catalogue of many superstitious cere- 
monies, tells us: "That to have yellow 
speckles on the nailes of ones hand is a 
greate signe of death." He observes that, 
" when the palme of the right hand itch- 
«th, it is a shrewd sign he shall receive 
money" ; which remains a belief among 
•some people. In an old play, we read : 



"When yellow spots do on your hands 
appear, 

Be certain then you of a corse shall 
hear." 

A publication of the beginning of the 
last century, referring to the gifts on the 
finger-nails states : ' ' Those little spots 
are from white glittering particles which 
are mixed with red blood, and happen to 
remain there some time. The reason of 
their being called gifts, is as wise a one 
as those of letters^ winding-sheets, &c., in 
a candle." British Apollo, 1708, i., No. 
17. Comp. Cornish Folk-lore. The set and 
statary times, says Browne, of paring nails 
and cuting of hair is thought by many 
a point of consideration, which is perhaps 
but the continuation of an ancient super- 
stition. To the Romans it was piacular 
to pare their nails upon the Nundiuoe, ob- 
served every ninth clay, and they avoided 
the operation on certain days of the week, 
according to that line of Ausonius : 

" Ungues Mercuric, Barbam Jove, Cy- 
pride Crines," 

The celebrated Countess of Dorset, Pem- 
broke, and Montgomery, according to her 
Day Book, 1676, cited bj; Southey, was 
accustomed to pare the nails of her hands 
and feet, and burn them in the fire after- 
wards. She notes on one occasion doing 
so about six in the morning in bed, and 
casting the parings into the fire when she 
rose. In the neighbourhood of Bottes- 
ford Moors, it is said that the children's 
nails are bitten off, and not pared, till 
they have passed the first twelvemonth ; 
for otherwise it is thought that the child 
will grow up to be a thief 1 But the prac- 
tice of biting the nails of infants is itself 
widely diffused, and though no special 
significance may be attached to it in gen- 
eral, the infringement of the rule is 
thought to be a certain forerunner of bad 
luck. A poor woman in Dorsetshire, some 
years ago, said that she always pared her 
children's nails over the leaves of the fa- 
mily Bible, to bring them up to be honest ! 
To cut the nails upon a Friday or a Sun- 
day, is accounted unlucky amongst the 
common people in many places, both here 
and abroad, except among the Jews, who 
usually select the former, the day preced- 
ing their own Sabbath. Addison s Pre- 
sent State of the Jews, 129. Holiday de- 
precates the omen, " that you may never 
pare your nailes upon a Friday." Lodge 
says, speaking of Curiositie : Nor will "he 
paire his nailes White Munday to be for- 
tunate in his love." Wits Miserie, 1596, 
p. 12. In Tomkis's " Albumazar," 1615, 
we read : 

" He puis you not a haire, nor paires a 

naile. 
Nor stirs a foote, without due figuring 
The horoscope." 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



431 



Names. — Among the Greeks it was 
an ancient custom to refer misfortunes to 
the signification of proper names. The 
Scholiast upon Sophocles observes that 
this ludicrous habit of analyzing the pro- 
per names of persons, and deriving omin- 
ous inferences from their different signi- 
fications in their state of analysis, ap- 
pears to have prevailed among the Gre- 
cian poets of the first reputation. Shake- 
spear, he adds, was much addicted to it. 
He instances: "How is't with aged 
Gaunt?" Bicliard II., ii., 1. 

Names in all countries and ages have 
been principally derived from natal loca- 
lities, callings, and personal aspects. 
Modern countries have resorted in con- 
siderable measure to classical, scriptural, 
or hagiological prototypes. 

Nantvtfich. — Pennant, in his "Tour 
from Chester to London," p. 30, tells us, 
that " on Ascension Day, the old inhabit- 
ants of Nantwioh piously sang a hymn of 
thanksgiving for the blessing of the briuo. 
A very ancient pit, called the old Brine, 
was also held in great veneration, and till 
within these few years was annually, on 
that festival, bedecked with boughs, flow- 
ers, and garlands, and was encircled by a 
jovial band of young people, celebrating 
the day with song and dance." 

Nativities. — Strype says, under the 
year 1570: "And because the welfare of 
the nation did so much depend upon the 
Queen's marriage, it seems some were em- 
ployed secretly by calculating her nativity 
to inquire into her marriage. For which 
art even Secretary Cecil himself had some 
opinion. I have met among his papers 
with such a judgement made, written all 
with his own hand." Annals of the Be- 
formaiion, ii., 16. There are even at this 
day persons who pretend to cast nativi- 
ties, and to foretell the destinies of those 
who think proper to consult them. A 
man resided some years ago in Blackfriars, 
who made some remarkably lucky guesses, 
and had a considerable circle of believers. 

Nativity of the Virgin, — (Sept. 
8). Howell, in a letter without date, but 
•about 1655, to Lord Dorchester, observes, 
that the writers hostile to the memory of 
'Queen Elizabeth taxed her, among other 
matters, for suffering "the nativity of 
the Virgin Mary in September to be 
turned to the celebration of her own 
birthday, &c." But comp. St. Eliza- 
ieth's Day. 

Neck. — Moulin says: "If the neck 
of any one grows stiff, or the muscles of 
the head are twisted awry, it is a portent 
that that person will die by the neck." — 
Vates, p. 218. 

In the " Voyageur de Paris," quoted in 
a MS. note by Douce, the origin of neck- 
laces is traced to the idea inculcated on 



the young girls of France by the old 
nurses that a small neck was a token of 
continence. Vol. iii., 223. 

Neck-Verse. — The beginning of the 
51st Psalm used to bear this name from 
the fact that in all capital cases, within 
benefit of clergy, the prisoner, by repeat- 
ing his neck-verse, saved his neck or life. 
Lodge, speaking of an intelligencer, says : 
" hee will give a shroud wound with his 
tongue, that may bring a man to his 
neck-verse." Wits Miserie, 1596, sign. 
N 3 verso. A story, which appears to be 
alluded to in the play of Gammer Gurton's 
Needle, written about 1566, is told in 
Pasquil's Jests, 1604, relevant to this old 
practice. It is of a man condemned to 
death at the Oxford Assizes, and being 
prompted by "a scholar" to the neck- 
verse, as the man himself could not read, 
at a certain place the scholar whispered 
him to take away his thumb, which pre- 
vented him from seeing the print, and 
the convict, misapprehending, repeated, 
" Take away thy thumb," upon which the 
judge ordered his removal. But when he 
was on the ladder, and just ready to be 
hanged, he cried, " Have at you daisy 
yonder !" and leapt off the cart. In 
Brathwaite's " Whimzies," 1631, p. 69, 
in the character of a jaylor is the fol- 
loving passage : "If any of his more 
happy prisoners be admitted to his clergy, 
and by helpe of a compassionate promp- 
ter, hacke out his Necke- Verse, hee has a 
cold iron in store, if he be hot ; but 
a hot iron if hee be cold. If his pulse (I 
mean his purse) bee hot, his fist may cry 
fizze, but want his impression : but if his 
pulse be cold, the poore beggarly knave 
must have his literal expression." The 
following explanation must be received 
cum grano : 

"When Popery long since with tenets 
of nonsense 
And ignorance fill'd the land. 

And Latin alone to Church-men was 
known. 
And reading a legible hand : 

This privilege then, to save learned 

Was granted 'em by Holy Church, 
While villains, whose crimes were lesser 
nine times. 
Were certainly left in the lurch. 

If a monk had been taken for stealing 
of bacon, 
For burglary, murder, or rape : 
If he could but rehearse, (well prompt) 
his Neck Verse 
He never could fail to escape. 

When the world grew more wise, and 
with open eyes 
Were able to see through the mist, 

DD 



432 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



'Twas thought 's just to save a Laity- 
Knave, 
As well as a rascally priest." 

—British Apollo, 1710, No. 72. Sir Wal- 
ter Scott notices the neck-verse as a cant 
term formerly used by the marauders on 
the Border : 

" Letter nor line know I never a one, 
Wer't my Neck-Verse at Hairibee." 

— Lay of the Last Blinstrel, Canto i. p. 
24. A note adds, " Haribee, the place of 
executing the Border marauders at Car- 
lisle." 

Newcastle-on-Tyne. — It was 
an ancient custom for the mayor, alder- 
men, and sheriff of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 
accompanied with great numbers of the 
burgesses, to go every year, at the feasts 
of Easter and Whitsuntide, to a place 
without the walls called the Forth, a little 
Mall, where everybody walks, as they do 
in St. James's Park, with the mace, sword 
and cap of maintenance carried before 
them. The young people of the town 
still assemble there on these holidays, at 
Easter particularly, play at hand-ball, 
dance, &c., but are no longer counten- 
anced in their innocent festivity by the 
presence of their governors who, no 
doubt, in ancient times, as the Bishops did 
with their inferior clergy, used to unbend 
the brow of authority, and partake with 
their happy and contented people the 
seemingly puerile pleasures of the festal 
season. 

Two annual fairs held on the Town 
Moor were called Lammas and St. 
Luke's Fairs, from the days on which they 
begin. Bourne, in his history of that 
town, tells us, that the tolls, booths, stal- 
lage, pickage, and courts of pie-powder 
(dusty foot) to each of these fairs, were 
reckoned communibus annis, at twelve 
pounds, in the time of Oliver Cromwell. 
The records of the monasteries there would 
doubtless have furnished some particulars 
relative to the institution and ancient 
customs of the fairs at that place. Bourne 
says, the custom of the passing bell itself 
was held to be popish and superstitious 
during the Grand Rebellion, for in a ves- 
try book belonging to the Chapel of All 
Saints, it is observable that the tolling 
of the bell is not mentioned in the parish 
from the year 1643 till 1655, when the 
church by this and such like means hav- 
ing been brought in dilapidation through 
want of money, it was at a Vestry, held 
January 21, that year, ordered to be 
tolled again. A bell, usually called the 
thief and reever bell, proclaims the two 
annual fairs. A bell is rung at six every 
morning, except Sundays and holidays, 
with a view, it should seem, of calling up 
the artizans to their daily employment ; 
it was formerly rung at four. The in- 



habitants retain also a vestige of the old 
Norman curfew at eight in the evening. 
The bells there are muffled on the 30th of 
January every year — the anniversary 
of the death of Charles I. Their 
sound is by this means peculiarly 
plaintive. The inhabitants of that town 
were particularly loyal during the parlia- 
mentary wars in the grand rebellion, 
which may account for the use of this cus- 
tom, which probably began at the Re- 
storation. 

The tolling of the great bell of 
St. Nicholas' Church here has been 
from ancient times a signal for the bur- 
gesses to convene on gild-days, or on the 
days of electing magistrates. It begins 
at nine o'clock in the morning, and with 
little or no intermission continues to toll 
till three o'clock, when they begin to elect 
the mayor, &c. Its beginning so early 
was doubtless intended to call together 
the several companies to their respective 
meeting-houses, in order to choose the 
former and latter electors, &c. A popu- 
lar notion prevails that it is for the old 
mayor's dying, as they call his going out 
of office : the tolling, as it were, of his pass- 
ing bell. On Pancake Day, St. Nicho- 
las's Bell tolled at noon ; shops were im- 
mediately closed; all kinds of business 
ceased ; and a carnival ensued, lasting 
during the rest of the day. Bourne tells us 
that it was a custom with several religi- 
ous families to use prayers, as for a soul 
departing, at the tolling of the Passing 
Bell. It is stated in Brand's "History 
of Newcastle," that the Mayor used to 
keep his fool to entertain him and his 
friends, as elsewhere, with his pleasan- 
tries. It appears from an Order of the 
Common Council, dated 15th May, 1657, 
that the scholars of the public grammar 
school there^ and other schools in th« 
town, were invited to attend the magis- 
trates on Ascension Day, when the 
magistrates, river jury, &c., of the 
corporation, according to an ancient cus- 
tom, make their annual procession by 
water in their barges, visiting the bounds 
of their jurisdiction on the river, to pre- 
vent encroachments. Chearful libations 
are offered on the occasion to the genius 
of our wealthy flood, which Milton calls 
the " coaly Tyne " ■ 

"The sable stores on whose majestic 

strand 
More tribute yield than Tagus' golden 

sand." 

In the Painted Hall at Greenwich Hos- 
pital, the Genius of the Tyne is repre- 
sented pouring forth his coal in great 
abundance. There is the Severn with her 
lampreys, and the Humber with her pigs 
of lead, which, with the Thames and Tyne 
compose the four great rivers of England. 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



433 



In the Ordinary of the Company of 
Cooks here, dated 1575, I find the follow- 
ing clause: "And alsoe that the said 
Felloship of Cookes shall yearlie of theire 
owne cost and charge mainteigne and 
keep the bone-fires, according to the aun- 
tient custome of the said towne on the 
Sand-hill ; that is to say, one bone-fire on 
the Even of the Feast of the Nativitie of 
St. John Baptist, commonly called Mid- 
somer Even, and the other on the Even of 
the Feast of St. Peter the Apostle, if it 
shall please the Maior and Aldermen of 
the said towne for the time being to have 
the same bone-fires." In the Ordinary 
of the Butchers' Company, dated 1621, 
is the following clause : Item, That 
noe one brother of the said Fellowship 
shall hereafter buy or seeke any licence 
of any person whatsoever to kill flesh 
within the town of Newcastle in the Lent 
season, without the general consent of the 
Fellowship, upon payne for every such 
defaute to the use aforesaide, £5." They 
are enjoined, it is observable, in this char- 
ter to hold their head meeting-day on 
Ash-Wednesday. They have since al- 
tered it to the preceding Wednesday. 

It is said in a MS. Life of Alderman Bar- 
nes, of Newcastle, about 1680 : 'His chief 
recreation was cock-fighting, and which 
long after he was not able to say whether 
it did not at least border upon what was 
criminal, he is said to have been the 
champion of the cock-pit. One cook par- 
ticularly he had, called ' Spang ( PSpan) 
Counter,' which came off victor in a great 
many battles a la main; but the sparks 
of Streatlem Castle killed it out of mere 
envy : so there was an end of Spang Coun- 
ter and of his master's sport of cocking 
ever after." 

Brand speaks of having been more 
than once disturbed early on May 
morning at Newcastle-upon-Tyne by 
the noise of a song, which a woman 
sang about the streets who had several 
garlands in her hand, and which, if he 
mistook not, she sold to any that were 
superstitious enough to buy them : 

"Rise up, maidens ! fy for shame ! 
For I've been four lang miles from 

hame : 
I've been gathering my garlands gay : 
Rise up, fair maids, and take in your 

May." 

There was an ancient usage here after 
the Assizes, arising out of the long period 
during which the journey from Newcastle 
to the next point, Carlisle, was rendered 
dangerous by the unsettled state of the 
Border. The Mayor, addressing the 
Judge, congratulated him on the comple- 
tion of his labours, and as his farther 
course lay through a country much in- 



and 

the 

In 

the 

pre- 
the 



fested by the Scots, offered to his accept- 
ance a Jacobus or 20s. gold piece of 
James I., wherewith to purchase a dagger 
to defend himself. But we have here 
probably the second or modified form of 
the custom, which may have at the outset 
extended to the provision of an armed 
escort. The selection of a Jacobus seems 
to date the introduction of the altered ar- 
rangement, and where there are two 
judges on circuit, it is said to be the 
practice to give one a Jacobus 
the other a Carolus or piece of 
same value of the next reign. 
1902, at the November Assizes, 
Mayor, Sir William Stephenson, 
sented Mr. Justice Channell with 
Jacobus as usual, and his lordship assured 
him, that he should keep the old coin as 
a memento. 

New Year. — " Alle that take hede 
to dysmal dayes, or use nyoe observaunces 
in the newe moone, or in the new yere, as 
setting of mete or drynke, by nighte on the 
benche, to fede Alholde or Gobelyn." — 
"Dives and Pauper," 1493. There is a 
proverb current in the North : 

" At New Year's tide, 

The days lengthen a cock's stride." 

Comp. Hazlitt's Proverbs 1882, p. 83. In 
Westmoreland and Cumberland, "early 
on the morning of the first of January, 
the Fsex Populi assemble together, carry- 
ing stangs and baskets. Any inhabitant, 
stranger, or whoever joins not this rufEan 
tribe in sacrificing to their favourite 




BLAOKTHOBN GLOBE. 

saint-day, if unfortunate enough to be 
met by any of the band, is immediately 
mounted across the stang (if a woman, she 
is basketed), and carried, shoulder height, 
to the nearest public-house, where the 
payment of sixpence immediately liberates 
the prisoner." "None, though ever so 
industriously inclined, are permitted to 
follow their respective avocations on that 
day." Gent. Mag.. 1791, p. 1169. A 
strange custom still lingers in out-of-the- 
way country places in Herefordshire. On 
New Year's Day, very early in the morn- 
ing, the farm boys go out and cut branches 
of the blackthorn, which they weave into 



434 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



a kind of globe of thorns. Then a large 
fire of straw is made in the farmyard, in 
which the globe of thorns is slightly burnt, 
while all the inmates of the farm stand, 
hand-in-hand, in a circle round the fire, 
shouting, in monotonous voice, the words 
" Old Cider," prolonging each syllable to 
its utmost extent. When the globe of 
thorns is slightly charred it is taken in- 
doors and hung up in the kitchen, when 
it brings good luck for the rest of the 
year. No one seems to know the origin 
of the superstition, though probably the 
words "old cider" are a corruption of 
some much older words, probably an invo- 
cation to a heathen deity. Old people 
say that in their youth the practice was 
general in all country places in Hereford- 
shire, and it was a pretty sight on New 
Year's morning to see the fires burning 
all over the neighbourhood. Another cus- 
tom still in use is to take a particular kind 
of cake, and on New Year's morning to 
bring a cow into the farmyard and place 
the cake on her head. The cow walks for- 
ward, tosses her head, and the cake falls, 
and the prosperity of the New Year is 
foretold from the direction of its fall. 
Daily Graphic, January 1, 1898. The 
globular form is given to fruit trees at 
the present day in the neighbourhood of 
Paris. A cherry-tree so trained is figured in 
the Hoyal Magazine for September, 1903. 

Christie says : "The new year of 
the Persians was opened with agricultural 
ceremonies (as is also the case with the 
Chinese at the present day)." He adds: 
"The Athenians (says Plutarch) cele- 
brated three sacred ploughings." " The 
Chinese ploughing took place on the first 
day of their solar new year, (the same 
ceremony is practised in Tunquin, Cochin 
China, and Siam), which, however, hap- 
pened at an earlier season than with the 
Greeks, viz., when the sun entered the 
15th degree of Aquarius ; but the differ- 
ence of season need not be objected to, 
since we have observed that similar rites 
were adopted by the antient Persians, 
the beginning of whose year differed again 
from that of the Greeks and Chinese ; 
but all these ceremonies may be presumed 
to have sprung from the same source. The 
Grecian ploughing was perhaps at first 
but a civil institution, although a mysti- 
cal meaning was afterwards attached to 
it." Inquiry into the Ancient Greek 
Game, 1801, p. 136. 

New Year's Day "It seems it 

was a custom at Rome, upon New 
Year's Day, for all tradesmen to work 
a little in their business by way of 
omen; for luck's sake, as we say, 
that they might have constant business 
all the year after." Massey's Notes 
on Ovid's Fasti, p. 14. Prynne, in 



his " Histriomastix," 1633, did not fail 
to detect a close correspondence between 
the practices on New Year's Day in his 
time and the ancient pagan festivals, and 
alluded to the prohibition published 
against the latter by the Catholic Church, 
as a hint to the English government that 
it should " go and do likewise." In "Vox 
Graculi," 1623, p. 49, is the following, 
under January : 

This month you drink no wine com- 
mixt with dregs ; 

Bate capons, and fat hens, with dump- 
ling legs. 

"The first day of January being raw, 
colde, and comfortlesse to such as have 
lost their money at dice at one of the 
Temples overnight, strange apparitions 
are like to be seen : Marchpanes march- 
ing betwixt Leaden-hall and the little Con- 
duit in Cheape, in such aboundance that 
an hundred good fellowes may sooner 
starve then catch a corner, or a comfit to 
sweeten their mouthes. It is also to be 
feared, that through frailty, if a slip be 
made on the messenger's default that car- 
ries them, for non-delivery at the place 
appointed ; that unlesse the said messen- 
ger be not the more inward with is mis- 
tris, his master will give him rib-rost for 
his New Yeares Gift the next morning. 
This day shall be given many more gifts 
then shall be asked for, and apples, egges, 
and orenges, shall be lifted to a lofty rate ; 
when a pome-water bestucke with a few 
rotten cloves, shall be more worth than 
the honesty of an hypocrite ; and halfe a 
dozen of egges of more estimation than 
the vowes of a strumpet. Poets this day 
shall get mightily by their pamphlets . 
for an hundred of elaborate lines shall be 
lesse esteemed in London, then an hun- 
dred of Walfleet oysters at Cambridge." 

' 'The King of light, father of aged time. 
Hath brought about that day which is 

the prime 
To the slow gliding months, when every 

eye 
Wears symptoms of a sober jollity; 
And every liand is ready to present 
Some service in a real compliment. 
Whilst some in golden letters write their 

love, 
Some speak affection by a ring or glove, 
Or pins and points (for ev'n the peasant 

may, 
After his ruder fashion, be as gay 
As the brisk courtly Sir), and thinks 

that he 
Cannot, without gross absurdity, 
Be this day frugal, and not spare his 

friend 
Some gift, to shew his love finds not an 

end 
With the deceased year." 
— Poole's English Parnassus, 1657. 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



435 



Hutchinson, speaking of the parish of 
Muncaster, under the head of Ancient 
Custom," informs us : " On the eve of the 
New Year, the children go from house to 
house, singing a ditty which craves the 
bounty ' they were wont to have in old 
King Edward's days.' " History of Cum- 
berland, i., 570. There is no tradition 
whence this custom rose ; the donation is 
two-pence, or a pye at every house. The 
following passage from Lockhart's Life 
of Scott, under 1819, seems to be worth 
a place here ; "In the nest of these let- 
ters (one to Joanna Baillie), Scott alludes 
among other things to a scene of innocent 
pleasure, which I often witnessed after- 
wards. The whole of the ancient ceremo- 
nial of the daft days, as they are called in 
Scotland, obtained respect at Abbotsford. 
He said it was uncanny, and would cer- 
tainly have felt it very uncomfortable, 
not to welcome the new year in the midst 
of his family and a few old friends, with 
the immemorial libation of a het pint." 
And it seems from the "Popish King- 
dome " of Naogeorgus, that in Germany 
during the New Year's week debtors were 
left unmolested, and people kept high re- 
velry " according to the auncient guise 
of heathen people vaine, and wished each 
other a happy new year." See Jews. 

New Year's Day, Scotland.— 
The keen loyalty with which New Year's 
Day is observed in Edinburgh itself, to 
the present moment, was quite recently il- 
lustrated (1904) by the complete absence, 
on the arrival at Waverley Station of the 
London express, of porters and cabs, and 
a_ noble lord found it necessary to make 
his way to his hotel in a milk-cart. 

New Year's Eve — The Nidderdale 
people still adhere to the practice of 
running round the house on this anniver- 
sary. Comp. Lucas's Studies in Nidder- 
iale. 

Nevw Year's Gifts.— As the vulgar, 
says Bourne, are always very careful to 
end the old year well, so they are no less 
solicitous of making a good beginning of 
the new one. The old one is ended with a 
hearty compotation. The new one is 
apened with the custom of sending pre- 
sents, which are termed New Year's Gifts, 
to friends and acquaintances. He resolves 
both customs into superstitions as be- 
ing observed that the succeeding year 
iught to be prosperous and successful, 
stillingfleet says, that among the Saxons 
3f the Northern nations the Feast of 
;he_New Year was kept with more than 
wdinary jollity : thence, as Olaus Wor- 
nius and Scheffer observe, they reckoned 
;heir age by so many lolas ; and Snorro 
Sturleson describes this New Year's Feast, 
iust as Buchanan sets out the British 



Saturnalia, as an occasion for feasting 
and sending New Year's Gifts to one an- 
other. Orig. Brit, page 343. 

In the "Monthly Miscellany" for 
December 1692, there is an Essay 
on New Year's Gifts, which states, 
that "the ancient Druids, with great 
ceremonies, used to scrape off from 
the outside of oaks the misleden, which 
they consecrated to their great Tutates, 
and then distributed it to the people thro' 
the Gauls, on account of the great virtues 
which they attributed to it ; whence 
New Year's Gifts are still called in some 
parts of France Guy-V an-neuf. Our 
English nobility, every New Year's tide, 
still send to the King a purse with gold 
in it. Reason may be joined to custom 
to justify the practice ; for as presages 
are drawn from the first things which are 
met on the beginning of a day, week or 
year, none can be more pleasing than 
of those things that are given us. We 
rejoice with our friends after having 
escaped the dangers that attend every 
year, and congratulate each other for the 
future by presents and wishes for the 
happy continuance of that course, which 
the ancients called Strenarum Commer- 
cium. And as formerly men used to re- 
new their hospitalities by presents called 
Xenia, a name proper enough for our 
New Year's Gifts, they may be said to 
serve to renew friendship, which is one 
of the greatest gifts imparted by Heaven 
to men : and they, who have always as- 
signed some day to those things which they 
thought good, have also judged it proper 
to solemnize the Festival of Gifts, and to 
show how much they esteemed it, in token 
of happiness, made it begin the year. 
The value of the thing given, or, if it is 
a thing of small worth, its novelty, or the 
excellency of the work, and the place 
where it is given, makes it the more ac- 
ceptable, but above all, the time of giving 
it, which makes some presents pass for a 
mark of civility on the beginning of the 
year, that would appear unsuitable in 
another season." Henry III. according 
to Matt. Paris, appears to have ex- 
torted Gifts from his subjects. Matt. 
Paris, an. 1249, p. 757, ed. 1640. 

A list of the New Year's Gifts 
distributed by Henry VI. in 1437 
is printed in " Excerpta Historica," 
1833. The practice of presenting New 
Year's Gifts to Royalty was sufficiently 
familiar in Henry Vllth's time, and his 
queen used, it seems, invariably to re- 
ciprocate by making a donation as nearly 
equal as possible to the value received in 
each case. Perhaps the most splendid 
New Year's Gifts ever made in early 
time were those which Wolsey presented 
to Henry VIII. One of these was a gold 



436 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



cup, richly chased and engraved, of the 
value of £117 178. 6d. From a MS. cited by 
Brand, it was usual, it seems, in the time 
of Edward VI. to give rewards on New 
Year's Day to those who had presented 
gifts previously to his Highness, and this 
practice continued at least till the time of 
Elizabeth, of whom it must be said that, 
if she took from her subjects, she was very 
liberal, so far as estrennes were concerned, 
in returning them "in reward" a full 
equivalent. Nichols, in his Preface to her 
Majesty's "Progresses" observes: "The 
only remains of this custom at Court now 
is that the two chaplains in waiting, on 
New Year's Day, have each a crown- 
piece laid under their plates at dinner. 
An Orange stuck with cloves appears to 
have been a New Year's Gift. So Ben 
Jonson, in his " Christmas His Masque :" 
" He has an Orange and rosemary, but 
not a clove to stick in it." The use of the 
orange stuck with cloves may be ascer- 
tained from " The Seconde Booke of Not- 
able Things," by Thomas Lupton (1579) : — 
" Wyne wyll be pleasant in taste and 
flavour, if an orenge or a lymon (stickt 
round about with cloves) be hanged within 
the vessel that it touch not the wyne : 
and so the wyne wyll be preserved from 
foystiness and evyll savor.^' In "Witt's 
Recreations," 1640, as republished in 
1817, is a descriptive poem " On a 
Brede of divers colours, woven by four 
Maids of Honour and presented to the 
Queen on New Year's Day last." The 
queen, no doubt, was Henrietta-Maria. 
From a passage in Bishop Hall's " Sa- 
tires," 1598 (Book V. Sat. 1) it should seem 
that the usual New Year's Gift of tenantry 
in the country to their landlords, was a 
capon: and this is corroborated in "A 
Lecture to the People," 1644 : 

"Ye used in the former days to fall 
Prostrate unto your landlord in his hall, 
When with low legs, and in an humble 

guise. 
Ye offer'd up a Capon-sacrifice 
Unto his worship at a New Year's 

Tide." 

Prom a reference in Stephens's " Char- 
acters," 1615, p. 283 "Like an inscription 
with afat goose against New Year's 
Tide," it may either be inferred that such 
a thing was a customary present or dish at 
this season. Overbury, in his Characters, 
speaking of "a Timist," says, that "his 
New Yeares Gifts are ready at Alhalomas, 
and the Sute he meant to meditate before 
them." In 1647, an anonymous writer, 
in addressing his tract, concerning " Mo- 
tives grounded upon the word of God," to 
the Civic authorities of London, set forth 
that he presented these instead of heath- 
enish and superstitious New Year's Gifts. 
It was customary, it seems, for the bailiffs 



of Maiden to send on the first of the year 
to the King's Vice-Admiral of Essex a 
present of oysters and wild fowl. Sir 
John Bramston notices the arrival of the 
gift on New Year's Day, March 26. 1688, 
in his "Autobiography," printed for the 
Camden Society in 1845. 

In Brand's time it was still usual 
in Northumberland for persons to ask 
for a New Year's Gift on that day. 
Dr. Moresin tells us that in Scotland 
it was in his time the custom to 
send New Year's Gifts on New Year's 
Eve, but that on New Year's Day, they 
wished each other a happy day, and asked 
a New Year's Gift. Papains, p. 1078. 
Buchanan once sent to Mary Queen of 
Scots a quatrain, in which he begged her 
Majesty to accept his very good wishes in 
earnest of anything more substantial, and 
concluded with, " Et quod abest opta tu 
mihi, da quod adest." 

It appears that the modern prac- 
tice of Estrennes in France is derived 
from the ancient usage of strena 
or presents made similarly on New 
Year's Day among friends with ex- 
pressions of good wishes for the new sea- 
son just commencing. The strena were 
given by relatives to each other. Accord- 
ing to Le Bceuf_, these presents had be- 
come popular in that country in the 
twelfth century. Divers Ecrits, i. 307. 
A fair is held at Paris on the Boulevards 
for fifteen days, commencing with the 
Jour de I'An, for the sale of playthingt 
and sweatmeats. 

Naogeorgus (Thbmas Kirchmaier) is 
cited by Hospinian, as telling us, 
that it was usual in his time for 
friends to present each other with 
New Year's Gift ; for the husband to give 
one to his wife ; parents to their childlreai 
and masters to their servants, etc. ; a 
custom derived to the Christian world 
from the times of Gentilism. The super- 
stition condemned in this by the ancient 
fathers, lay in the idea of these gifts being 
considered as omens of success for the en- 
suing year. 

New Year's Water.— The children 
at Tenby used to come round, singing a 
pretty song, and carrying water, which 
they thus designated, to sprinkle over 
householders — presumably for good luck. 

Nicholas' Clerks, St. — Comp. 
Boy-Bishop supra. The bad repute of the 
processions of youths, headed by the Epis- 
copus Puerorum on Holy Innocents' Day 
and during Childermas, is supposed to 
have gained for them this bye-name, and 
it was eventually extended to depredators 
in general. In Bale's "Yet a course at 
the Romyshe Foxe," 1542, signat. D 4, 
the author enumerates some " auncyent 
rytes and lawdable ceremonyes of holy 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



437 



Churche," then, it should seem, laid aside, 
with the following censure on the Bishop : 
" than ought my lorde also to sufEre the 
same selfe ponnyshment, for not goynge 
abouglit with Saynt Nycolas clarkes," &c. 
Which passage appears to lend some coun- 
tenance to the theory that the expression 
in italics originally signified nothing more 
than those who conducted the Service, 
but when Bale wrote, the festival of the 
Boy-Bishop had grown sufficiently scanda- 
lous to be made the subject of a prohibitory 
statute (33 Henry VIII.). 

In the first part of "Henry IV." act 
ii. scene 1, highwaymen are called St. 
Nicholas's Clerks. In a tract which ap- 
peared in 1652, it is said of the Knights 
of the Blade, that they were " commonly 
•called Hectors, or St. Nicholas' Clerkes." 
They were also called St. Nicholas' 
Knights. In " Plaine Percevall, the 
Peace-Maker of England," we read, p. 
1: "He was a tender-harted fellow, 
though his luck were but hard, which 
hasting to take up a quarrell by the high- 
way side, between a brace of St. Nicholas 
clargiemen, was so curteously imbraced on 
both parties, that he tendered his purse 
for their truce." 

Nicholas's Day, St.— (Dec. 6). St. 
Nicholas was born in Patara, in Lycia, 
and, from a layman, was made Bishop 
of Myra. He died on the 8th of the ides 
of December, 343. In the " Festyvall," 
1511, there is the following: " It is sayed 
of his fader, hyght Epiphanius, and his 
moder Joanna, &c. and when he was born, 
&c. they made him Christin, and called 
him Nycholas, that was a mannes name ; 
but he kepeth the name of the child, for 
he chose to kepe vertues, meknes, and 
■simpleness ; he fasted Wednesday and Fri- 
day ; these days he would souke but ones 
of the day, and therwyth held him plesed. 
Thus he lyved all his lyf in vertues with 
this childes name, and therefore children 
doe him worshin before all other Saints, 
&c." In a MS. of the "Lives of the 
Saints," which Mr. Brand had, there was 
the following couplet upon St. Nicholas : 

"Y° furst day y' was ybore, he gan to 

be good and clene. 
For he ne wolde Wednesday ne Friday 

never more souke but ene." 

So the " Golden Legend : " " He wolde not 
take the brest ne the pappe. but ones on 
the Wednesday, and ones on the Frydaye." 
The Roman Calendar has the following 
■observations on St. Nicholas's Day : 
"Nicholas Bishop; School Holidays; the 
Kings go to church, with presents and 
^reat shew : the antient custom of poets 
in schools related to the boys ; the 
Tiings feasts in schools." Douce observes : 
"The true reason why this saint was 
■chosen to be the patron of scholars, may be 



gathered from the following story in his 
life, composed in French verse by Maistre 
Wace, chaplain to Henry the Second : 
. . . ' Three scholars were on their way to 
school (I shall not make a long story of it), 
their host murdered them in the night, 
and hid their bodies ; their .... he pre- 
served. Saint Nicholas was informed of 
it by God Almighty, and according to his 
pleasure went to the place. He demanded 
the scholars of the host, who was not able 
to conceal them, and therefore showed 
them to him. Saint Nicholas by his 
prayers restored the souls to their bodies. 
Because he conferred such honours on 
scholars, they at this day celebrate a fest- 
ival." The Rev. W. Cole says: "This, 
I suppose, sufiiciently explains the naked 
chilclren and tub, the well-known emblems 
of St. Nicholas." 

It appears that the master of Wye 
School, founded by Archbishop Kempe in 
1447, was to teach all the scholars, both 
rich and poor, the art of grammar gratis, 
unless a present was voluntarily made, 
and except ' ' consuetam Gallorum et de- 
nariorum Sancti Nicolai gratuitam obla- 
tionem," the usual offering of cocks and 
pence at the Feast of St. Nicholas. It 
IS said that at schools, the boys, when at 
play, if they wish to escape from their 
pursuers (as at Touch He), exclaim 
Nic'las, which at once disarms the young- 
ster who, for the moment, is giving chase, 
or as the case may be. But the more 
usual formula is Fain Play. 

As early as 1233 the Parish Clerks of 
London were incorporated under the style 
of the Fraternity of St. Nicholas, and 
certain property at BishopsgatCj men- 
tioned in 27 Henry VI., is described as 
having formerly belonged to this brother- 
hood. Why such a body identified itself 
with the saint, seems really uncertain. 
Hazlitt's Livery Companies, 1892, p. 123. 

There is a short series of miracles, as- 
cribed to this personage in Mr. Wright's 
volume of Early Mysteries, 1838. The 
affiliation of marvels and prodigies cost 
the mediaeval romancist even less than 
it does his successors in this class of 
literary invention. 

In the " Mornyng Remembrance, or 
Moneths Mind of Margaret Countess 
of Richmond and Derby," by Bishop 
Fisher, 1509, it is said that " she 
praied to S. Nicholas the patron and 
helper of all true maydens,'' when nine 
vears old, about the choice of a husband, 
and that the saint appeared in a vision 
and announced the Earl of Richmond. 
Comp. St. Catherine. Of the two London 
Fraternities of Haberdashers one was 
under the protection of St. Nicholas. 
Hazlitt's Livery Companies, 1892, p. 115. 

There is a festival or ceremony obser-red 
in Italy (called Zopata, from a Spanish 



438 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



word signifying a shoe) in the courts of 
certain princes on St. Nicholas' Day, 
wherein persons hide presents in the shoes 
and slippers of those they do honour to, in 
such a manner as may surprise them on 
the morrow when they come to dress. 
This, it is repeated, is done in imitation of 
the practice of St. Nicholas, who used in 
the night time to throw purses in at the 
windows of poor maids, to be marriage 
portions for them. Brady notices a cus- 
tom prevalent (he says) in Italy and parts 
of Prance among the nuns of placing a 
silk stocking with a piece of silver in it 
at the door of the aboess's chamber. In 
the paper the girls commend themselves to 
Great St. Nicholas of her chamber ; and 
when, the next day, each stocking was 
filled with sweetmeats and other trifles, 
it was the saint who had put them there ! 
There is no end of St. Nicholas's patron- 
ship. He was also the mariners' saint. 
In the "'Vitse Sanctorum," by Lippeloo 
and Gras, 1603, we read, that St. Nicholas 
preserved from a storm the ship in which 
he sailed to the Holy Land ; and also cer- 
tain mariners, who in a storm invoked his 
aid ; to whom, though at a distance and 
still living, he appeared in person and 
saved them. In an ancient fabliau occurs 
the passage : — 

" Esb aiz fut tut li plus sages. 
Si plaissa la tourmente toz, 
Ne valeit gueres li plus proz. 
Rompent cordes, despescent tref, 
Fruissent cheveil, desclot la nef, 
Done comencent tuit a crier, 
Deu e ses sainz a reclamier. 
Mult se cleiment cheitif e las, 
Sovent orient ; Saint Nicholas, 
Socour nus, Saint Nicholas, sire, 
Se tiels es cum oomes dire ! 
A tant uns hom lor aparut 
Qui en la nief od els estut, 
Et itant at a els parlie : 
Je sui que m'avez appele 
Isnel le pas I'orez cessa, 
E saint Nicholas s'en ala." 

Maistre Waces St. Nicholas, von N. 
Delius, 1850, pp. 9-10. 

Hospinian says, the invocation of St. 
Nicholas by sailors took its rise from the 
legendary accounts of Vincentius and 
Mantuanus. St. Nicholas is the present 
patron of those who lead a sea-faring life 
(as Neptune was of old), and his churches 
generally stand within sight of the sea, 
and are plentifully stocked with pious 
moveables. (Hospinian, " De Orig. Fest. 
Christ." p. 153). St. Nicholas's Church 
at Liverpool was close to the water, and 
was the earliest one built there. Arm- 
strong, in his " History of Minorca," 
speaking of Ciudadella, says, " Near 
the entrance of the harbour stands 
a chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas, 



to which the sailors resort that have 
suffered shipwreck, to return thanks 
for their preservation, and to hang up 
votive pictures (representing the danger 
they have escaped) in gratitude to the 
saint for the protection he vouchsafed 
them, and in accomplishment of the vows 
they made in the height of the storm. 
'This custom, which is in use at present 
throughout the Roman Catholic world, is 
taken from the old Romans, who had it, 
among a great number of other super- 
stitions, from the Greeks ; for we are told 
that Bion the philosopher was shown se- 
veral of these votive pictures hung up in 
a temple of Neptune near the seaside." 

This personage, in connection with his 
maritime influence and celebrity, became 
the patron Saint of Great Yarmouth, and 
he appears on the corporate seal, ascribed 
to the 13th century, seated on a throne, 
holding a pastoral staff in his hand, and 
supported on either side by angels : there 
is the inscription: "O Pastor Vere Tibi 
Subjectis Miserere" and on the reverse 
side is a ship with the legend : Sio : 
Comimit: De: Oernemutha. "Walford's 
Pleasant days in Pleasant Places, 1878, 
p. 165. 

Nicholas's Eve, St. — (Dec. 5). 
Henry Machyn, in his " Diary " under 
1556, observes : " The v. day of Desember 
was Sant Necolas evyn, and Sant NecolaS 
whentt a-brod in most partt in London 
syngyng after the olde fassyon, and was 
reseyvyd with mony good pepulle in-to 
ther howses, and had myche good chere as 
ever they had, in mony plasses." Hos- 
pinian (who is followed by Naogeorgus; 
and our Hone) tells us, that in many 
places it was the custom for parents, on 
the vigil of St. Nicholas, to convey 
secretly presents of various kinds to their 
little sons and daughters, who observed a 
fast on the occasion, and who wera 
taught to believe that they owed 
them to the kindness of St. Nicholas 
and his train, who, going up and 
down among the towns and villages, came 
in at the windows, though they were shut, 
and distributed them. This custom, he- 
says, originated from the legendary ac- 
count of that Saint's having given por- 
tions to three daughters of a poor citizen, 
whose necessities had driven him to an 
intention of prostituting them, and this 
he effected by throwing a purse filled with 
money privately at night, in at the 
father's bedchamber window, to enable- 
him to portion them out honestly. 

" Saint Nicholas money used to give to 

maydens secretlie. 
Who, that he still may use his wonted 

liberalitie, 
The mothers all their children on the 

Eve do cause to faSt, 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



439 



And, when they every one at night in 

senselesse sieepe are cast, 
Both Apples, Nuttes, and Peares they 

bring, and other things beside, 
As caps, and shooes, and petticotes, 

which secretly they hide. 
And in the morning found, they say, 

that this St. Nicholas brought : 
Thus tender mindes to worship Saints 

and wicked things are taught." 

The Popish Kingdome, 1570. See Mar- 
tinmas. 

Nigrht Courtship. — A North-Coun- 
try usage which has fallen into disuse. 
See Halliwell in v. and the authority there 
quoted. 

Nightmare.— See Ephialtes. 

Nine Holes. — A rural game. See 
!^ares. Glossary, ed. 1859, in v. I find the 
following in Herrick : 

Upon Raspe. Epig. 
" Raspe playes at Nine-holes; and 'tis 

known he gets 
Many a teaster by his game, and bets : 
But of his gettings there's but little 

•nr, ®^S°' 

When one hole wastes more than he gets 

by nine." 

Nine Men's Morris Mr. Tollett 

irrites : "In Cotgrave, under the article 
Merelles, is the following explanation : 
■ Le leu des Merelles. The boyish game 
:alled Merils, or five-penny morris : played 
lere most commonly with stones, but in 
France with pawnes, or men made on 
Durpose, and tearmed merelles.' These 
night originally have been black, and 
lence called morris or merelles, as we yet 
:erm a black cherry a morello, and a small 
jlack cherry a merry, perhaps from 
Vlaurus a Moor, or rather from Morum a 
Vlulberry." An account of this game is 
jiven by Douce. "This game was some- 
;imes called the Nine Men's Merrils, from 
nerelles or mereaux, an ancient French 
vord for jettons, or counters, with which 
t was played. The other term, morris, 
s probably a corruption suggested by the 
lort of dance which, in the progress of the 
;ame, the counters performed. In the 
Trench merelles each party had three 
iounters only, which were to be placed in 
i line in order to win the game. It ap- 
)ears to have been the tremerel men- 
ioned in old fabliaux." Illustr. of 
'hakes, i, 184. Le Grand, Fabliaux, ii, 208. 
' Dr. Hyde thinks the morris, or merrils, 
pas known during the time that the Nor- 
nans continued in possession of England, 
md that the name was afterwards cor- 
upted into three men's morals, or nine 
aen'a morals. If this be true, the con- 
ersion of morrals into morris, a term so 
ery familiar to the country-people, was 



extremely natural. The doctor adds, that 
it was likewise called nine-penny or nine- 
pin Miracle, three-penny morris, five- 
penny morris, nine-penny morris, or 
three-pin, five-pin and nine-pin morris, 
all corruptions of three-pin, &c. merels." 
The following is the account of this game' 
given by Dr. Farmer in a note to Shakes- 
peare's Hid. Night Dream, ii, 2 : 

" The nine men's morris is fill'd up with 
mud." 

"In that part of Warwickshire where 
Shakespeare was educated, and the neigh- 
bouring parts of Northamptonshire, the 
shepherds and other boys dig up the turf 
yvith their knives to represent a sort of 
imperfect chess-board. It consists of a 
square, sometimes only a foot diameter, 
sometimes three or four yards. Within 
this is another square, every side of which, 
is parallel to the external square ; and 
these squares are joined by lines drawn 
from each corner of both squares, and the- 
middle of each line. One party, or player, 
has wooden pegs, the other stones, which 
they move in such a manner as to take 
up each other's men, as they are called, 
and the area of the inner square is called 
the pound, in which the men taken up are 
impounded. These figures are by the 
country people called nine men's morris, 
or merrils ; and are so called because each 
party has nine men. These figures ar* 
always cut upon the green turf, or leys, 
as they are called, or upon the grass at 
the end of ploughed lands, and in rainy 
seasons never fail to be choaked up with 
mud." Alchorue remarks: "nine men's 
morris is a game still played by the shep- 
herds, cow-keepers, &c. in the midland 
counties, as follows : A figure (of squares, 
one within another,) is made on the ground 
by cutting out the turf ; and two persons 
each take nine stones, which they place by 
turns in the angles, and afterwards move 
alternately, as at chess or draughts. He 
who can play three in a straight line may 
then take off any one of his adversary's, 
where he pleases, till one, having lost all 
his men, loses the game." 

Miss Baker, in her "Northamptonshire 
Glossary," 1854, notices the Shepherd's 
hev, race, ring, or run (as it is variouslj' 
called), a sport enjoyed by the lower classes 
annually at Boughton-Green Fair, four 
miles from Northampton. "A green- 
sward circle," the writer says, "of con- 
siderable size, has been sunk about a foot 
below the surface of the green, as far back 
as memory can trace. A mazy path, 
rather more than a foot in width, is formed 
within by a trench, three or four inches 
wide, cut on one side of it : and the trial 
of skill consists in running the maze from 
the outside to the small circle in a given 
time, without crossing the boundaries of 



440 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



the path." Some years ago at Saffron- 
Walden, there were the remains of a 
ground which had been cut in the turf for 
this purpose ; but the marks of the morris- 
dancers' knives were scarcely discernible. 

A writer in Willis's " Current Notes " 
for November, 1853, has the following ac- 
count of the game: "There can be but 
little doubt that it is the same game as 
that commonly known in the South of 
England under the name of moriners or 
mariners. It is played by two persons 
with nine men each on a figure . . . ge- 
nerally on a board with the lines cut in it, 
and holes at the angles for pegs by way of 
men. The players take turns to ' pitch ' 
their men, that is, to place them in the 
holes in such a way as to get, if possible, 
three in a line, or ' row." After they are 
all pitched, the players move alternately, 
the one whose turn it is shifting any one 
of his men to the next hole (if unoccupied) 
from the one it is then on, along a line. 
Whenever either player succeeds in mak- 
ing a ' row ' of his own men, whether 
during the pitching or subsequent play, 
he is entitled to take off any one of his 
adversary's, which is not protected by 
being in a row, and the game is lost by the 
person whose number of men is first re- 
duced by this process below three." Douce 
adds: "The jeu de merelles was also a 
table-game. A representation of two 
monkies engaged at this amusement may 
be seen in a German edition of Petrarch 
' de Remedio utriusque Fortunse,' b. i. ch. 
26. The cuts to this book were done in 
1520." 

Nine Pins or Skittles. — Urquhart 
of Cromarty observes : "They may likewise 
be said to use their king as the players 
at nine pins do the middle kyle, which 
they call the king, at whose fall alone 
they aim, the sooner to obtain the gaining 
of their prize." Discovery of a most ex- 
quisite Jewel, 1657, p. 237, &c. 

In 1684, during the great frost, the 
Master and Upper Wardens of the Foun- 
ders' Gild played at nine pins on the 
Thames. Poor Robin, in his Almanack 
for 1695, in his observations on the 
spring quarter, says: "In this quarter 
are very much practised the commendable 
exercises of nine-pins, pigeon-holes, stool- 
ball, and barley-break, by reason Easter 
holydays, "Whitson holydays, and May 
Day, do fall in this quarter." 

" Ladies for pleasure now resort 
Unto Hide Park and Totnam Court ; 
People to Moorfields flock in sholes, 
At nine-pins and at pigeon-holes. 
The country lasses pastime make 
At stool-ball and at barley-break ; 



And young men they pass time away 
At wrestling and at foot-ball play. 
And every one, in their own way, 
As merry are as birds in May." 

But in the Almanac for 1707 the game 
is introduced under the name of skittles : 
Copenhagen House, Islington, was noted 
for " Dutch Pins." Formerly, more than 
at present perhaps, nine-pins (with bowls) 
was the favourite amusement at suburban 
and riverside places of resort for oarsmen 
and holiday folk. Comp. Games supra. 
In the United States they play with ten 
pins, and term the game accordingly. 
Ten-pins is noted in Rowlands' s Letting of 
Rumors Blood, printed before 1600. But 
see The Art of Playing at Shittles, by A. 
Jones, 1773. 

Speaking of this game, as it is now 
played at the Star near Aldgate, both in 
the form of thirty-one-up in the daytime 
by mere amateurs for amusement and in 
that of regular sport at night, the Daily 
Graphic of June 11, 1897, says : The 
skittle-alley is a long barn-like place which 
looks as if in a previous state of existence 
it might have been a back yard, and it 
has benches at one end. Upon the benches 
sit the experts and critics of the game, 
and upon the table in front of them are 
measures — pint measures — for refresh- 
ment. If you go in during the daytime 
it will be to find a game of a more or less 
desultory nature going on. " These 
yere," observes the landlord nodding to- 
wards the eight or ten skittlers, " ain't 
in a manner o' speakin' what you might 
call players : and they ain't as you 
might say playin' skittles, its thirty-one 
up as they're a playin', a sort of a ram- 
bling game, but it livens 'em up. There's 
a laugh attached to it — if you understand 
me, sir." But at night, as the landlord 
explains, there is a very different scene 
in the little alley. The gaslights flare and 
the place is thick with tobacco ; a continual 
clamour partly begotten of beer, but more 
directly due to emulation, fills the place, 
and most of the players who are not play- 
ing are discussing their own chances with 
great emphasis. The emphasis is some- 
times directed to description of the handi- 
capper who has allowed them less start 
than they ought to have. 

The skittle handicaps are conducted with 
the greatest strictness, and sometimes last 
over weeks, since there are a large number 
of competitors, and between good players 
a match " five up," whch is the usual 
length of a handicap game, often takes a 
long time. But the East-Ender takes his 
amusement, especially in the way of 
skittles, leisurely ; he likes to eke it out 
as far as it will go. There are, as every- 
body knows, nine pins in the skittle 
diamond, each of them twenty-four inches 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



441 



apart. The player who bowls the cheese 
at them, usually after running up the 
narrow path leading to the diamond, hurls 
it from a distance of six feet at the pins, 
and so as to ensure that he shall not ap- 
proach closer, a line of putty is placed 
across the path to show the impress of 
boots. The way of scoring is as follows. 
If the first player knocks down all the 
nine-pins then he is said to "set" the 
other player " one " — which is to say that 
the other player must knock all the pins 
down in two " goes." If the first player 
knocks down eight pins, so that he himself 
requires two " goes " to clear the lot, then 
he is said to "set two," which is to say that 
his opponent must knock all the pins down 
in three " goes " or else lose a point. As 
good players habitually knock down eight 
or nine, and eight is practically as good 
a " go " as nine, it will be understood that 
there are a large number of skittles. 
Seven or eight ties are by no means un- 
common between good and well-matched 
players, and perhaps in a game of " five 
UP " one might see a score of ties before 
the contest was decided. The excitement 
when, after two or three weeks of this sort 
of thing, the final heats are approaching, 
is very pronounced ; it overflows from the 
skittle alley into the bar, and sometimes is 
a source of considerable anxiety to the 
neighbours in the little side street." The 
rules of the game are framed and glazed 
in the bar. 

Noah's Ark. — A dark cloud of con- 
siderable length, broad in the centre, and 
tapering toward the extremities, in a 
manner which produces a real or supposed 
resemblance to the ark. It prognosticates 
heavy rains. The Scots, however, appear 
to draw a distinction between the different 
directions in which Noah's ark is seen ; 
if it extends from S. to N., it portends 
fair wenther: if from E. to W., wind and 
rain. Rain, it may be here added, is held 
to be foreshadowed by the appearance of 
what is called the Weather-Gall, or second 
rainbow. In the Cleveland country this 
is not called Noah's ark, apparently, but 
Noeship, merely another form, however, of 
the same term, as Noe is in early English 
the almost invariable shape in which the 
patriarch's name occurs. 

Noddy. — An old game at cards, sup- 
posed to be the same as cribbage. See 
Halliv/ell in v. and Cards supra. 

Nogr Money. — In Scotland, upon the 
last day of the old year, the children go 
about from door to door asking for bread 
and cheese, which they call nog-money, 
in these words : 

"Get up, gude-wife, and binno sweir, 

(i.e. be not lazy) 
And deal your cakes and cheese, while 

you are here ; 



For the time will come when ye'U be 

dead, 
And neither need your cheese nor 

bread." 

Noontide. — Mr. Johnson says, 
noontide " signifies three in the after- 
noon, according to our present account : 
and this practice, I conceive, con- 
tinued down to the Reformation. In 
King Withfred's time, the Lord's day did 
not begin till sunset on the Saturday. 
Three in the afternoon was bora nona in 
the Latin account, and therefore called 
noon : how it came afterwards to signifie 
mid-day, I can but guess. The monks by 
their rules could not eat their dinner till 
they had said their noon-song, which was 
a service regularly to be said at three 
o'clock : but they probably anticipated 
their devotions and their dinner, by say- 
ing their noon song immediately after 
their mid-day song, and presently falling 
on. I wish they had never been guilty 
of a worse fraud than this. But it may 
fairly be supposed, that when mid-day be- 
came the time of dining and saying noon 
song, it was for this reason called noon by 
the monks, who were the masters of the 
language during the dark ages. In the 
' Shepherd's Almanack ' noon is mid-day ; 
hieh noon, three." Const. Part 1, Anno 
958, 5. 

Nose. — It is still a rural or vulgar 
superstition, that a child born with a blue 
vein on the side of its nose is destined 
to be drowned. The bleeding of the nose 
was formerly treated as a bad portent. 
In the History of Thomas of Heading, by 
T. Deloney, printed before 1600, when the 
hero of the romance is on his way to the 
Crane Inn at Colebrook. where the host 
used to murder his guests by means of a 
false floor in the bedroom over the kitchen, 
and a boiling cauldron below, we are told 
that " his nose burst out suddenly a-bleed- 
ing." as he drew near to the town. The 
author has collected together nearly all 
the harbingers of evil known in his day 
in the narrative nf circumstances which 
preceded the murder. 

In Bodenham's Belvederp. 1600, p. 147. 
we have the following simile from one of 
our old poets : 

"As suddaine bleeding argues ill en- 
suing, 

So suddaine ceasing is fell Feares 
renewing." 

Lancelot Gobbo, in the " Merchant of 
Venice," 1600, says, " I will not say you 
shall see a masque ; but if you do, then it 
was not for nothing that my nose fell 
a-bleeding on Black-Monday last at six 
o'clock i' the morning," on which Steevene 
observes, that from a passage in Lodge's 



442 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



"Rosalynde," 1590, it appears that some 
superstitious belief was annexed to the 
accident of bleeding at the nose : " — as 
he stoode gazing, his nose on a sodaine 
bledde, which made him conjecture that 
it was some friend of his." Again in 
Webster's " Dutchess of Malfy," 1623, act 
ii. sc. 2 : 

" How superstitiously we mind our 

evils ? 
The throwing down salt, or crossing of 

a hare. 
Bleeding at nose, the stumbling of a 

horse. 
Or singing of a oreket, are of power 
To daunt whole man in us." 

And a little farther on : 

"Ant. My nose bleeds. 

One that were superstitious would 

(ac)count 
This ominous, when it merely comes by 

chance." 

Wither introduces this subject into his 
Abuses, 1613; 

For worthlesse matters some are won- 
drous sad, 
Whom if I call not vaine I must terme 

mad. 
If that their noses bleed some certaine 

drops. 
And then againe upon the suddaine 

stops. 
Or, if the babling foule we call a jay, 
A squirrell, or a hare, but crosse their 

way, 
Or, if the salt fall towards them at table, 
Or any such like superstitious bable, 
Their mirth is spoil'd because they hold 

it true 
That some mischance must thereupon 

ensue." 

The nose falling a bleeding appears by the 
following passage to have been a sign 
of love : " Did my nose ever bleed when I 
was in your company? and, poore wench, 
just as she spake this, to shew her true 
heart, her nose fell a bleeding." Brath- 
waite's Boulster Lecture, 1640, p. 130. 

Melton observes : " That when a man's 
nose bleeds but a drop or two, it is a sign 
of ill lucke ; that when a man's nose bleeds 
one drop, and at the left nostril, it is a 
sign of good lucke, but, on the right, ill." 
Grose says, a drop of blood from the nose 
commonly foretells death, or a very severe 
fit of sickness ; three drops are still more 
ominous. Burton says that " to bleed 
three drops at the nose is an ill omen," 
Anatomy, 1621, p. 214. In which he is 
followed by Keuchenius in an epigram, 
which explains the matter by the principle 
of uneven numbers (especially three and 
its multiples) being agreeable both to gods 
and men. Crepundia, p. 214. " That 



your nose may never bleed only three 
drops at a time, is found among the omens 
deprecated in Holiday's " Marriage of the 
Arts," 1618. 

In the Adventures of Master F.I., which 
may perhaps be a piece of his own personal 
history, Gascoigne describes a charm to 
check bleeding at the nose: " Hee (Fer- 
dinando) layde his hande on hir temples, 
and priuily rounding hir in hir eare, 
desired hir to commaunde a hazell sticke 
and a knyfe : the whiche beyng brought, 
hee deliuered vnto hir, saying on this wise : 
Mistresse, I will speake certaine woordes 
in secrete to my selfe, and doe require no 
more, but when you heare me sale openly 
this worde Amen, that you with this knyfe 
will make a nicke vppon this hazell sticke : 
and when you haue made flue nickes, 
commaunde mee also to cease." Works 
by Hazlitt, i. 422-3. It is added that 
this remedy was found effectual. In verses 
prefixed by A. W. to Gascoigne's Posies, 
1575, it is said by the writer that the 
flower pimpernel (of which there is more 
than one variety) was considered of utility 
and virtue in this respect. 

The following charm has been preserved, 
to stop bleeding at the nose and all 
other hsemorrhages in the country : 

" In the blood of Adam Sin was taken, 

In the blood of Christ it was all to 
shaken, 

And by the same blood I do thee charge, 

That the blood of (naming the party) 
run no longer at large." 
— Athenian Oracle, i, 158. 

This physical symptom has long been 
reduced to a common-place level by the 
general belief and knowledge that it is 
a mere effort of nature, in the majority of 
instances, to counteract an excess of blood 
to the brain. It is extremely common in 
the young ; but in later life it has been 
observed that the hemorrhage often ceases, 
or occurs much less frequently. I have 
heard the itching of the nose inter- 
preted into the expectation of seeing 
a stranger. So in the "Honest Whore," 
by Decker and Middleton, 1604, Bellafront 
says: "We shall ha guests to day, I lay 
my little maidenhead, my nose itches so." 
Works, 1840, iii, 36. The reply made by 
her servant Roger further informs us 
that the biting of fleas was a token of the 
same kind. Melton observes in his Astro- 
logaster, 1620, that "when a man's nose 
itcheth, it is a signe he shall drink wine," 
and that " if your lips itch, you shall kisse 
some body." 

Not or Knot. — This is a game played 
in Gloucestershire between two sides, each 
of whom is armed with bats, and en- 
deavours to drive a ball in opposite 
directions. It is apt to become a violent 
and dangerous amuesment. Comp. Shinty. 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



Notting^ham. "In Nottingham," 
says Deering, upon some old authority, 
which he does not specify, " by an antient 
custom, they keep yearly a general watch 
every midsummer eve at night, to which 
every inhabitant of any ability sets forth 
a man, as well voluntaries as those who are 
charged with arms, with such munition 
as they have; some pikes, some muskets, 
calivers, or other guns, some partisans, 
holberts, and such as have armour send 
their servants in their armour. The num- 
ber of these are yearly almost two hundred, 
who at sun-setting meet on the Row, the 
most open part of the town, where the 
Mayor's Serjeant at Mace gives them an 
oath, the tenor whereof foUoweth, in these 
words : ' You shall well and truly keep 
this town till to-morrow at the sun-rising ; 
you shall come into no house without 
license, or cause reasonable. Of all man- 
ner of casualties, of fire, of crying of 
children, you shall due warning make to 
the parties, as the case shall require you. 
You shall due search make of all manner 
of affrays, bloudsheds, outcrys, and of all 
other thngs that be suspected,' &c. 
Which done, they all march in orderly 
array through the principal parts of the 
town, and then they are sorted into several 
companies, and designed to several parts 
of the town, where they are to keep the 
watch until the sun dismiss them in the 
morning. In this business the fashion is 
for every watchman to wear a garland, 
made in the fashion of a crown imperial, 
bedeck'd with flowers of various kinds, 
some natural, some artificial, bought and 
kept for that purpose, and also ribbans, 
jewels, and, for the better garnishing 
thereof, the townsmen use the day before 
to ransack the gardens of all the gentlemen 
within six or seven miles about Notting- 
ham, besides what the town itself affords 
them, their greatest ambition being to 
outdo one another in the bravery of their 
garlands. This custom is now quite left 
off. It used to be kept in this town even 
so lately as the reign of King Charles I." 

Novem Quinque. — This is men- 
tioned as a game at cards or dice in the 
" English Courtier and the Countrey 
(Jentleman," 1586. Comp. Nares, 1859, 
in V. 

Numbers. — In Bell's MS. Discourse 
on Witchcraft I find the following pas- 
sage: "Are there not some, who cure by 
observing numbers, after the example of 
Balaam, who used Magiam Geometricam? 
Numb, xxiii. 4. ' Build me here seven 
altars, and prepare me seven oxen and 
seven rams,' &c. There are some witches 
who enjoin the sick to dipp their shirt 
seven times in south running water. 
Elisha sends Naaman to wash in Jordan 
seven times. Elijah, on the top of Carmel, 
sends his servant seven times to look out 



443 



for rain. When Jericho was taken, they 
compassed the city seven times." Vaf- 
lancey tells us, "in unenlightened times 
we find persons of the brightest characters 
tainted with superstition. St. Ireneeus 
says, ' there must be four gospels and no 
more, from the four winds and four cor- 
ners of the earth;' and St. Austin, to 
prove that Christ was to have twelve 
apostles, uses a very singular argument, 
for, says he, ' The Gospel was to be prea- 
ched in the four corners of the world in 
the name of the Trinity, and three times 
four makes twelve.' " Collect, ii, 12-13, 
Note. 

The predilection for odd numbers is 
very ancient, and is mentioned by Virgil 
in his eighth Eclogue, where many spells 
and charms, still practised, are recorded : 
but notwithstanding these opinions in fa- 
vour of odd numbers, the number thirteen 
is considered as extremely ominous, it 
being held that when thirteen persons 
meet in a room, one of them will die within 
a year. It has been suggested that the an- 
cient popular superstition that it is un- 
lucky to make one in a company of thir- 
teen persons, may probably have arisen 
from the paschal supper. We can none of 
us forget what succeeded that repast, at 
which thirteen persons are said to have 
been present. 

" Aut quemcumque Superorum, juxta 
Pythagoreos, qui ternarium numerum 
perfectum summo Deo assignant, a 
quo initium, et medium, et finis est : aut 
revera Hecaten dicit, cujus triplex pot- 
estas esse perhibetur : undo est tria Vir- 
ginis Ora Dianse. Quamvis omnium prope 
Deorum potestas triplici Signo ostendatur, 
ut Jovis trifidum Fulmen, Neptuni Tri- 
deus, Plutonis Canis triceps. Apollo idem 
Sol, idem Liber, vel quod omnia ternario 
Numero continentur, ut Parcee, Furiae, 
Hercules etiam trinoctio conceptus. 
Musee ternae : aut imparl quemadmodum- 
cumque : nam septem chordse, septem 
planetifi, septem dies nominibus Deorum, 
septem Stellse in Septentrione, et multa 
his similia : et impar numerus immortalis, 
quia dividi integer nou potest, par nu- 
merus mortalis, quia dividi potest ; licet 
Varro dicat Pythagoreos putare imparem 
Numerum habere finem, pavem esse in- 
finitum ; ideo medendi causa multarumque 
rerum impares servari." Servius in P. 
Virgil. Eclog. viii. ed. Varior. See also 
Censorinus de Die Natali, 1695, p. 121, 
and Macrob. lib. i. Saturnal. cap. xiii ; 
Solin. cap. iii. 

Fuller relates the following anecdote : 
" A covetous courtier complained to King 
Edward the sixt of Christ Colledge in Cam- 
bridge, that it was a superstitious foun- 
dation, consisting of a master and twelve 
fellowes, in imitation of Christ and his 



444 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



twelve apostles. He advised the King 
also to take away one or two fellowships, 
so to discompose that superstitious num- 
ber. Oh no, (said the King) I have a 
better way than that, to mar their con- 
ceit, I will add a thirteenth fellowship 
unto them ; which he did accordingly, and 
so it remaineth unto this day." Mixt 
Contemplations, 1660, part 2, p. 53. 

This number was also supposed to be 
ominous in consequence of its agree- 
ment with that which attended the 
witches' meetings or sabbaths. Hence it 
was called the Devil's dozen, and after- 
wards the Baker's. Comp. Nares, Gloss- 
ary, 1859, V. Baker's Dozen. Massinger, 
in A New Way to pay Old Debts, 1633, 
where Greedy says to Sir Giles Overreach : 

" There are a dozen of woodcocks — " 

the latter replies : 

Make thyself thirteen, the Baker's 
dozen^' ' 

In the "Gentleman's Magazine" for 
July^ 1796, is an account of a dinner party 
consisting of thirteen, and of a maiden 
lady's observation, that as none of her 
married friends were likely to make an 
addition to the number, she was sure that 
one of the company would die within the 
twelvemonth. It is worthy of note that 
our own superstition respecting the num- 
ber thirteen at a dinner-table is equally 
entertained by the Basques. The same 
may be said of the spilling of salt, knives 
crossed, the screech of the owl, or the bark- 
ing of dogs, as presages of death, the 
commencement of any task on a Friday, 
and many of our notions about witch- 
craft and sorcery. But M. Michel's 
chapter on the superstitions of the " Pays 
Basque" should be read as a whole. 

It is said of William Marquis Berkeley, 
who was born in 1426, that "This Lord 
William closeth the second Septenary 
Number from Harding the Dane, as much 
differing from his last ancestors, as the 
Lord Thomas, the first septenary lord, 
did from his six former forefathers. I 
will not be superstitiously opinionated of 
the misteries of numbers, though it bee 
of longe standing amongst many learned 
men ; neither will I positively affirm, that 
the number six is fatall to weomen, and 
the numbers of seaven and nine to men. 
Or, that those numbers have, (as many 
have written,) magnam in tota rerum 
natura potestatem, great power in king- 
doms and comon wealths, in families, ages 
of bodies, sickness, health, wealth, losse, 
&c. : Or, with Seneca and others : Septi- 
mus quisque Annus, &c. Each seaventh 
year is remarkable with men, as the sixth 
is with weomen. Or, as divines teach : 
that in the numbers of Seaven there is a 
misticall perfection which our under- 



standinge cannot attaine unto : and that 
Nature herself is observant of this num- 
ber." Fosbrooke's Berkeley MSS., 1821, 
p. 156. His marginal references are 
as follow: " Philo-Judseus de' Legis 
AUeg. lib. i. Hippocrates. Bodin. 
de Republica, lib. iv. cap. 2. See 
the Practice of Piety, fol. 418. 410. 
Censorinus de Die Natali, cap. 12. Se- 
neca. Varro apud Gellium, lib. iii. 
Bucholcer, Jerom in Amos, 5." 

An anonymous author, speaking of Hey- 
lin's "fatal Observation of the Letter 
H." says : " A sudden conceit darted into 
my thoughts (from the remembrance of 
former reading,) that such kings of Eng- 
land, as were the second of any name, 
proved very unfortunate princes :" and he 
proceeds, in confirmation of this hypo- 
thesis, to write the lives of the above 
kings. Numerus Infaustus, 1689, Pref. 
Mr. Roberts, in his " History of Lyme 
Regis," records an instance of the still 
prevailing belief in the peculiar power or 
faculty of a seventh son, as well as of the 
seventh son of a seventh son (without any 
intermediate female children). The for- 
mer is, or was very recently, supposed to 
be able to cure ordinary diseases by the 
touch, but to the latter was reserved the 
higher gift of touching for the king's evil. 
In the diary of Walter Yonge, under date 
of 1606-7, it is said, that a seventh son 
was to be seen in London at that time, 
who healed the deaf, the blind, and the 
lame ; but the imposture was exposed by 
the Bishop of London, who brought per- 
sons to the alleged miracle-worker, and 
satisfied all rational witnesses that the 
whole affair was a hoax and a falsehood. 

Lemnius observes: "Augustus Csesar, 
as Gellius saith, was glad and hoped that 
he was to live long, because he had passed 
his sixty-third year. For olde men sel- 
dome passe that year, but they are in 
danger of their lives, and I have observed 
in the Low Countries almost infinite ex- 
amples thereof. Now there are two years, 
the seventh and ninth, that commonly 
bring great changes in a man's life and 
great dangers ; wherefore sixty-three, that 
containes both these numbers multiplied 
together, comes not without heaps of dan- 
gers, for nine times seven, or seven times 
nine, are sixty-three. And thereupon 
that is called the climactericall year, 
because beginning from seven, it doth as 
it were by steps finish a man's life." The 
writer seems to have been of opinion that 
the septennial renewal of leases is re- 
ferable to this origin. Occult Miracles 
of Nature, 1658, p. 142. 

Werenfels, speaking of a superstitious 
man, says: "Upon passing the climac- 
terick year, he is as much rejoiced as if he 
had escaped out of the paws of death. 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



445 



When he is sick, he will never swallow the 
pills he is ordered to take, in equal num- 
ber." Dissertation on Superstition, 1746, 
p. 7. In setting a hen, says Grose, the 
good women hold it an indispensable rule 
to put an odd number of eggs. All sorts 
of remedies are directed to be taken, 
three, seven, or nine times. Salutes with 
cannon consist of an odd number. A 
royal salute is thrice seven, or twenty-one 
guns. Even leases are usually made out 
of seven, fourteen, or twenty-one years. 
At games of chance or skill with cards, 
odd numbers are likewise much in favour, 
as, for instance, at vingt-et-un, picquet, 
ecarte, &c. In Bavensoroft's Mama- 
mouchi, 1675, one of the characters, 
Trickmore, habited as a physician, says : 
"Let the number of his bleedings and 
purgations be odd, Numero Deus impare 
gaudet." 

Flecknoe describes " One who troubles 
herself with every thing," as follows: 
" She is perpetually haunted with a pan- 
ick fear of ' Oh what will become of us !' 
&o. and the stories of apparitions in the 
air, and prognosticks or extraordinary 
accidents to happen in the year 66, (when 
perhaps 'tis nothing but the extraordinary 
gingle of numbers,) makes her almost out 
of her wits agen." Enigmatical Charac- 
ters, 1665, p. 109. Gaule classes with vain 
observations and superstitious omin- 
ations, "to collect or predict men's man- 
ners and fortunes by their names, or the 
anagram upon the name, or the allusion 
to the name, or the numbers in the name," 
&c. Magastromancers posed, p. 181. 
Sir Thomas Browne writes, "that Fluc- 
tus decumanus, or the tenth wave, 
is greater or more dangerous than 
any other, some no doubt will be 
offended if we deny : and hereby we shall 
seem to contradict antiquity : for, answer- 
able unto the literal and common accept- 
ation, the same is averred by many 
writers, and plainly described by Ovid : 

' ' ' Qui venit hie fluctus, fluctus supere- 
minet omnes 

Posterior nono est, undecimoque prior.' 
which, notwithstanding, is evidently false ; 
nor can it be made out by observation 
either upon the shore or on the ocean, as 
we have with diligence explored in both. 
And surely in vain we expect a regularity 
in the waves of the sea, or in the parti- 
cular motions thereof, as we may in its 
general reciprocations, whose causes are 
constant and effects therefore corres- 
pondent. Whereas its fluctuations are but 
motions subservient : which winds, storms, 
shores, shelves, and every interjacency 
irregulates." " Of affinity hereto is that 
conceit of ovum decumanum, so called 
because the tenth egg is bigger than any 
other, according to the reason alleged by 



Festus, ' Decumana ova diountur, quia 
ovum decimum majus nasoitur.' For the 
honour we bear unto the clergy, we cannot 
but wish this true : but herein will be 
found no more verity than the other." 
He adds : " The conceit is numeral." 

Nuptial Usages — Marriag:e, 
(i) the time of year. In the " Boman 
Calendar," several days are marked as 
unfit for marriages, " Nuptiee non fiunt," 
i.e. " Feb. 11, Jun. 2, Nov. 2, Dec. 1." On. 
the 16th of September, it is noted, " Tobi3e 
sacrum. Nuptiarum Ceremonise a Nup- 
tiis deductsB, videlicet de Ense, de Pisce,. 
de Pompa, et de Pedibus lavandis." On 
the 24th of January, the vigil of St. Paul's 
Day, there is this singular restriction, 
" Viri cum TJxoribus non cubant."' 
" Temp us quoque Nuptiarum celebran- 
darum" (says Stuckius) "certum a veteri- 
bus definitum et constitutum esse invenio. 
Concilii Ilerdensis, xxxiii. 9, 4. Et in 
Decreto Ivonis lib. 6, non oportet a 
Septuagesima usque in Oetavam Paschse, 
et tribus Hebdomadibus ante Festivitatem 
S. Joannia Baptistse, et ab adventu 
Domini usque post Epiphaniam, nuptias 
celebrare. Quod si factum fuerit, separ- 
entur." Antiquitat. Conviv. p. 72. See 
also the formula in the append, to- 
Hearne's " Hist, and Antiq. of Glaston- 
bury," p. 309. In an almanack for the 
year 1559, by Lewis Vaughan, "made 
for the merydian of Gloucestre," are noted: 
as follow : ' ' the tymes of weddinges when 
it begynneth and endeth." "Jan. 14. 
Weding begin. Jan. 21. Weddinge gotb 
out. April 3. Wedding begyn. April 29. 
Weddinge goeth out. May 22. Wedding 
begyn." And in another almanack for 
1655, by Andrew Waterman, mariner, we 
have pointed out to us, in the last page, 
the following days as "good to marry, 
or contract a wife, (for then women will 
be fond and loving,) viz. January 2, 4, 
11, 19, and 21. Feb. 1, 3, 10, 19, 21. 
March 8, 5, 12, 20, 23. April 2, 4, 12, 
20, and 22. May 2, 4, 12, 20, 23. June 

I, 3, 11, 19, 21. July 1, 3, 19, 19, 21, 31. 
August 2, 11, 18, 20, 3(). Sept. 1, 9, 16, 
18, 28. Octob. 1, 8, 15, 17, 27, 29. Nov. 5, 

II, 13, 22, 25. Dec. 1, 8, 10, 19, 23, 29." 
The month of May is generally con- 
sidered as an unlucky one for the cele- 
bration of marriage. This is an idea, 
which has been transmitted to us by our 
ancestors, and was borrowed by them from 
the ancients. Thus Ovid, in his " Fasti," 
lib. V. : 

"Nee viduse tsedis eadem, nee virginis 

apta 
Tempera. Quse nupsit, non diuturna 

fuit. 
Hac quoque de causa (si te proverbia 

tangunt), 
Mense malas Maio nubere vulgus ait."" 



446 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Our rustics retain to this day many 
superstitious notions concerning the times 
of the year when it is accounted lucky or 
otherwise to marry. It has been remarked 
that none are ever married on Childermas 
Day : for whatever cause, this is a black 
day in the calendar of impatient lovers. 
Handle Holme, too, tells us: "Innocence 
Day on what day of the week soever it 
'lights upon, that day of the week is by 
■astronomers taken to be a cross day all the 
year through." Acad, of Armoury, lib. 
3, c. 3. The following proverb marks 
.another ancient conceit on this head : 

"Who marries between the sickle and 

the scythe, 
Will never thrive." 

(ii) the hour. The canonical hours for 
miarriage fixed by the Church, unless dis- 
pensed with by special licence, are between 
eight o'clock in the morning and noon. 
They usually take place between eight and 
one in the afternoon. The Church im- 
poses sacred rules or canons, and you are 
not to violate them, unless you pay for 
doing so. It is a mere question of cash. 

In the arrangements for the marriage 
of Catherine of Arragon to Arthur, Prince 
of Wales, in 1501, the following passage 
occurs: "Item, that the maryage take 
begynnynge somewhat before ix at the 
clocke." Traduction and mariage of the 
princesse, (1502) A 4 v". In connection 
with the hour is the season of the year, 
for which there has never been any fixed 
rule, the event depending on the rank of 
the parties and in the case of the working 
classes and persons in emoloyments on the 
•occurrence of holidays. Comp. Lucky and 
Unlucky Days. It is said that there was 
formerly a custom in Edinburgh for a 
bride, meeting the King on foot in the 
street to kiss him ; but even in the loth 
■ century James IV. of Scotland is found 
resisting this privilege. 

(iii) the place. Vallancey informs us that 
the antient Etruscans always were mar- 
ried in the streets, before the door of the 
house, which was thrown open at the con- 
clusion of the ceremony ; but it is scarcely 
safe, perhaps, to draw analogies between 
the practice of a people living in so 
different a climate from our own, and 
under such different conditions. " Col- 
lectanea," No. xiii. p. 67. As for 
the early Italians, in some of their re- 
nublics it appears to have been usual to 
hear suits at law in the porch of the house ; 
but in the Lombard architecture of the 
middle ages the porch enjoyed a promin- 
ence, which among us it never possessed. 
All the ancient missals mention at the 
beginning of the nuptial ceremony, the 
placing of the man and woman before 
the door of the church, and direct, towards 



the conclusion, that here they shall enter 
the church as far as the step of the altar. 
"Missale ad Usum Sarum," 1555. See 
also the formula in the appendix to 
Hearne's "Hist, and Antiq. of Glastonb.," 
p. 309. Chaucer alludes to this custom in 
his "Wife of Bath" thus: 

" She was a worthy woman all her live, 
Husbands at the Church dore had she 
five." 

In a collection of prints, illustrating 
ancient customs (which Brand saw) in the 
library of Douce, there was one that re- 
presented a marriage solemnizing at the 
church door. In a MS. cited in the " His- 
tory of Shrewsbury," 1779, it is observed 
that "the pride of the clergy and the 
bigotry of the laity were such, that both 
rich and poor were married at the church 
doors." By the parliamentry reformation 
of marriage and other rites under King 
Edward the Sixth, the man and woman 
were first permitted to come into the body 
or middle of the church, standing no 
longer as formerly at the door ; yet (from 
the superscription of Herrick's poem 
called "The Entertainment, or Porch- 
verse, at the marriage of Mr. Hen. Nor- 
thly," &c.) one would be tempted to think 
that this custom had survived the Refor- 
mation. In Fletcher's " Scornful Lady," 
1616, the lady says : 

"Were my feet in the door; were 'I 

John ' said ; — 
If John should boast a favour done by 

me, 
I would not wed that year." 

The celebration of the religious ceremony 
at the church-door might satisfy the 
clergy ; but it did not confirm the bond, 
unless an entry was made in the civil re- 
gister. Otherwise one might have sup- 
posed that the man and woman were not 
deemed fit to enter the building, till their 
union had been fully solemnized. 

Selden asserts that no where else, but 
before the face of, and at the door of the 
church, could the marriage-dower have 
been lawfully assigned ; which may derive 
support from the following passage : 
" Robert Fitz Roger, in the 6th Ed. I. 
entered into an engagement with Robert 
de Tybetot, to marry, within a limited 
time, John his son and heir, to Hawisia, 
the daughter of the said Robert de Tybe- 
tot, to endow her at the church-door on 
her wedding-day with lands amounting 
to the value of one hundred pounds per 
annum." Uxor Hehraica (Opera, tom. 
iii. p. 680). " Neque alibi quam in facie 
BcclesisB, et ad ostium Ecclesiss atque ante 
desponsationem in initio Contractus (ut 
Juris Consultus nostri veteres aiunt) sic 
fundi dos legitime assignari potuit." 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



447 



(iv.) the Service. In a manuscript missal 
of the date of Richard II's reign, formerly 
the property of University College in Ox- 
ford, in the marriage ceremony, the man 
says : " Ich M. take the N. to my weddid 
wyf, to haven and to holden, for fayrere 
for fouler, for bettur for wors, for richer 
for porer, in seknesse and in helthe, fro 
thys tyme forward, till dethe us departe, 
if holichirche will it orden, and therto 
iche plight the my treuthe : " and on giving 
the ring (as in the Sarum book, edit. 1554, 
fol. 43): "With this ring I the wedde 
and this gold and silver ich the gebe and 
with my bodi I the worschepe, and with all 
my worldly catelle [chatells] I the 
honoure." The woman says: "Iche 
N. take the M. to my weddid hus- 
bond, to haven and to holden, for 
fayrer for fouler, for better for wors, 
for richer for poorer, in seknesse and in 
helthe, to be bonlich and buxura in bed 
and at burde, tyl deth us departe, fro 
thys tyme forward, and if holichirche it 
wol orden, & therto Iche plight my 
truthe." 

At the private marriage of Sir William 
Plumpton about 1451 to Joan Wintring- 
ham at Knaresborough the bridegroom, 
taking the bride with his right hand, re- 
peated after the vicar: "Here I take 
the Jeannett to my weddid wife to hold 
and to have, att bed and att bord, for 
farer or lather, for better for warse, in 
sicknesse and in hole, to dede us depart, 
and thereto I plight the my trouth," which 
the bride repeated mutatis mutandis, 
after which the vicar said in a low voice 
the mass of the Holy Trinity. Sir Wil- 
liam was dressed in a garment of green 
checkery and his wife in a red one. 
Plumpton Correspondence, 1839, Ixxvii. 
The variations of these missals on this 
head are observable. The Hereford Mis- 
sal makes the man say : "IN. undersyng 
the N. for my wedde wyf, for betere for 
worse, for richer for porer, yn sekenes & 
in helthe, tyl deth us departe as holy 
church hath ordeyned, and therto Y plyght 
the my trowthe." The woman says: "I 
N. undersynge the N. &c. to be buxom to 
the tyl deth us departe," &c. In the 
Sarum Manual there is this remark- 
able variation in the woman's speech : " to 
he bonere and buxum in bedde and at 
horde," &c. Bonaire and buxum are ex- 
plained in the margin by " meek and 
obedient." In the York Manual the 
woman engages to be "buxom" to her 
husband, and the man takes her "for 
fairer for fouler, for better for warse," 
&c. The so-called Bangor use varies, 
again, from those just cited, but substan- 
tially agrees with the texts of the Sarum 
and York Manuals. The Irish service- 
book was probably compiled from the 
English. 



There are three points to be noted in 
the foregoing extracts from these Rituals : 
that the Order of Matrimony is in Eng- 
lish ; that the man seems to tender by 
way of symbol, when he gives the ring. 
Gold and Silver, and that the parties 
severally undersign themselves or rather 
put their names or marks as an evidence 
of the contract. The preservation of re- 
gisters in churches for this purpose dates 
only from about 1538 ; the expression 
undersign occurs only in the later printed 
books : it is still in use as a synonym for 
subscribe. 

It is observable that the joining together 
of the right hands in the marriage cere- 
mony is noticed by Alexander ab Alex- 
andre, (Gen. Dies, ii, 5). See also Quintus 
Curtius, lib. 1. 

In Friar Bacons Prophesie, 1604, the 
father is made to give away his daughter. 
At one time he also performed the civil 
ceremony of marriage. 

In England, during the time of the 
Commonwealth, justices of peace were em- 
powered to marry people. A jeu d'esprit 
on this subject may be found in Fleck- 
noe's "Diarium," 1656, p. 83, "On the 
Justice of Peace's making marriages, and 
the crying of them in the market." In 
the parish registers of Uxbridge, Middle- 
sex, is a copy of one of the registrations 
of marriages, when the jurisdiction of 
the Church had been suspended : — 



MARRIAGES. 

1653. 

Robert Flood and 
Elizabeth Howard, 
both of the parish of 
Hillingdon, were 
married this 9th day 
of January before 
mee, John Baldwin, 
Esq., Justice of the 
Peace, according to 
an Act of Parlia- 
ment in that case 
made and provided. 
Jo. Baldwin. 



PUBLICATIONS. 

1653. 

A contract of mat- 
rimony between Ro- 
bert Flood and 
Elizabeth Howard, 
both of y° parish of 
Hillingdon in the 
County of Midd, 
was published in y" 
same Parish Church 
of Hillingdon on 
three severall Lords 
daies, viz., the 25th 
of December, y' 1st 
of January, and y" 
8th of January, in 
y« year, 1653, at the 
close of the morn- 
ing exercise, accord- 
ing to an Act of 
Parliament in that 
case provided. 

In the fifteenth century there seems to 
have been a prevalent superstition that 
prayers offered to the Holy Roods at Ber- 
mondsey Abbey and at the north door of 
St. Paul's by maidens desirous of obtain- 
ing a good husband were likely to prove 
effectual, for we find a young lady of the 



448 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Paston family in Norfolk recommended 
during her stay in London in 1465 to take 
this step. Paston Letters, ed. Gairduer, 
ii, 233. Stephens, in his character of " a 
plaine country bride," says: " She takes 
it by tradition from her fellow-gossips, 
that she must weepe shoures upon her 
marriage day : though by the vertue of 
mustard and onions, if she cannot natu- 
rally dissemble." 

In Leap years it is yet the fashion to 
suppose tnat on the extra day (29th) of 
February women may propose marriage to 
the other sex, and in 1904 a good deal of 
correspondence occurred on the subject in 
the press. 

A strange conception formerly prevailed 
that, if a man married a woman stripped 
of her clothing, her chemise (for pro- 
priety's sake) excepted, he was not answer- 
able for her debts contracted before the 
ceremony. Numerous illustrations of 
this fallacy occur in Notes and Queries 
and elsewhere ; the subjoined examples 
may suffice ; they are taken from N. & Q. 
for 1876: — "An extraordinary method 
was adopted by a brewer's servant in Feb- 
ruary, 1723, to prevent his liability for 
the payment of the debts of a, Mrs Brit- 
tain, whom he intended to marry. The 
lady made her appearance at the door of 
St. Clement Danes habited in her shift ; 
hence her enamorato conveyed the modest 
fair to a neighbouring apothecary's, where 
she was completely equipped with cloath- 
ing purchased by him ; and in these Mrs. 
Brittain changed her name at the 
church." — Malcolm's Anecdotes of Lon- 
don, p. 233. 

" A few days ago a handsome, well- 
dressed young woman came to a church 
in Whitehaven to be married to a man, 
who was attending there with the clergy- 
man. When she had advanced a little into 
the church, a nymph, her bride-maid, 
began to undress her, and by degrees 
stript her to her shift ; thus was she led 
blooming and unadorned to the altar, 
where the marriage ceremony was per- 
formed. It seems this droll wedding was 
occasioned by an embarrassment, in the 
affairs of the intended husband, upon 
which account the girl was advised to do 
this, that he might be entitled to no other 
marriage portion than her smock." — An- 
nual Begister, 1766, Chronicle, p. 106. 
Nathan Alder married Widow Hibbert 
with only a smock on (for the same reason), 
at the old church in the parish of 
Ashton-under Lyne, on March 7, 1771. 
" At Ashton Church, in Lancashire, a 
short time ago, a woman was persuaded, 
that if she went to church naked, her in- 
tended husband would not be burthened 
with her debts, and she actually went as 
a bride like mother Eve, but to the honour 
of the clergyman, he refused the damsel 



the honours of wedlock." — Chester Cou- 
rant, June 24, 1800. "In Lincolnshire, 
between 1838 and 1844, a woman was 
married enveloped in a sheet. And not 
many years bacK a similar marriage took 
place ; the clergyman, finding nothing in 
the rubric about the woman's dress„ 
thought he could not refuse to marry her 
in her chemise only." 

The manners and fashions of the higher 
classes in England and France in the thir- 
teenth century were sufficiently in har- 
mony to render it justifiable to introduce^ 
a notice of the ceremonies attendant on 
the marriage of Blonde of Oxford with 
Jean de Dammartin in the cognominal 
romance, which does not enter into the' 
historical side of the subject and the in- 
timate connection of the Dammartin 
family with the mediaeval countship of 
Boulogne. We are there told that at short 
notice thirty minstrels, a hundred knights, 
and two hundred ladies came to the feast.. 
The bride wore a gown of cloth of gold 
and a mantle of which the tassels were^ 
worth fourteen marks. Her hair was. 
beautifully dressed, and hanging down to- 
her girdle. A gold chaplet held it to- 
gether, and on her temples a clasp, than 
which the king did not possess a richer. 
At her girdle hung a purse of unequalled; 
beauty set in gold and precious stones,, 
with pearls as large as peas, it was es- 
timated at 100 livres. After the service- 
the knights led the bride to the hall, where- 
dinner was laid, and the banquet was- 
followed by a, performance of minstrelsy. 
In the evening the proceedings were- 
brought to a close by supper and dancing- 
Next day there was a second dinner, and 
then the guests took their leave. Rom- 
ance of Blonde of Oxford and Jean de 
Dammartin, edited from an unique MS. 
by Le Roux de Lincy, 1858 ; Hazlitt's- 
Coins of Europe, 1893, p. 396. 

A curious notice, from its early date, 
presents itself of a middle-class marriage- 
in the Eastern counties in 1448 in a letter 
from Margaret Paston to her husband, 
where the writer says: — " Kateryn Wal- 
saw xal be weddyd on the Monday nexst 
after Trinyte Sonday, as it is told me, to- 
the galaunte with the grete chene ; and 
there is purvayd for her meohe gode aray 
of gwnys, gyrdelys, and atyrys, and meche- 
other gode aray, and he hathe purcheysyd 
a gret purcheys of V. mark be yer to yevyn 
her to her joynture." 

At the nuptials of Margaret, sister of 
Edward IV. of England, to Charles le 
Temeraire Duke of Burgundy, in 1468, the 
Lord Mayor of London, on the entry of 
the Princess into Cheap, presented her 
with a pair of rich basins, in each of which 
were a hundred pounds [livres P] of gold- 
The embarkation of the bride at Margate, 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



449 



on her departure, presents the earliest 
notice I have found of that now celebrated 
watering-place. " The Fryedaye next 
after the Nativite of Sainct John the 
Baptist she shipped at Margate, and ther 
she toke leve of the Kinge and departid." 
When she landed at Sluys, in Holland, 
she was received with great honour, and 
the contemporary narrative states that 
' ' thei gave unto my ladie xii marke of 
golde, the whiche is in valewe twoo hund- 
rithe pounde of Englishe monneye." 
Archcentogia, xxxi, 327-8. This great lady 
is known as having been the patroness 
of William Caxton, and her English origin 
explains the interest, which she evinced 
in his typographical labours. 

At the marriage of Philip and Mary 
at Winchester, July 25th, 1555, the second 
course of dishes was claimed, as of custom, 
by the bearer. One of these, Edward 
Underbill, in the extant narrative of his 
inprisonment, etc., 1553-5, has left the fol- 
lowing account : ' ' The second course at 
the marriage of a, king is given unto the 
bearers : I mean the meat, but not the 
dishes, for they were of gold. It was 
my chance to carry a great pasty of red 
deer in a great charger, very delicately 
baked, which, for the weight thereof, 
divers refused. The which pasty I sent 
unto London, to my wife and her brother." 

Machyn describes in his " Diary," under 
December 1556, a wedding-supper, which 
was given at Henley-upon-Thames, for 
Master Venor and his wife at which he 
and some other neighbours were present ; 
" and as we wher at soper," says he^ " and 
or whe had supt, ther cam a xij wes- 
sells with maydens syngyng with ther 
wessells, and after cam the cheyfE wyffes 
syngyng with ther wessells ; and the 
gentyll-woman had hordenyd a grett tabuU 
of bankett, dyssys of spyssys and frut, as 
marmelad, gynbred (gingerbread), gele, 
comfett," &c. The grandeur, with which 
the nuptials of Alderman White were 
celebrated, in 1558, appears to have been 
somewhat unusual, for after the ceremony, 
according to Machyn, there was a 
masque, with splendid dresses and ap- 
pointments, and much dancing. Machyn 
notices a still more magnificent affair 
which was witnessed at the nuptials of a 
citizen in 1562 ; every luxury which could 
be procured for money was there, and 
there were three masques : one in cloth of 
gold, another of Friars, and a third of 
Nuns, and at the conclusion the friars and 
nuns danced together — a diversion which 
would not have been sanctioned in the 
previous reign. The celebrated Thomas 
Becon preached the wedding-sermon on 
that occasion. These masques at citizens' 
nuptials about this time appear to have 
been in imitation of the splendid pageants 



on scriptural and other subjects intro- 
duced long before into the marriage- 
ceremonials of our kings and nobility. 
Brand himself notices the masque, which 
was represented at the nuptials of Sir 
Philip Herbert, in the time of James I., 
and evidently supposed it to be a custom 
peculiar to people of rank. 

In the thirty-sixth volume of " Archseo- 
logia " will be found an account of the 
sumptuous and costly wedding of Richard 
Polsted, Esq., of Albury, to Elizabetli, 
daughter of William More, Esq., of Lose- 
ley, near Guildford, in 1567, with a list of 
all the marriage presents and their sen- 
ders. Mr. Secretary Cecil, afterward 
Lord Burleigh, gave a doe. There is a 
very curious letter from Fleetwood, Re- 
corder of London, to Lord Burghley, July 
18th, 1583, on the subject of a clandestine 
and illegal marriage-ceremony, which had 
just then recently occurred. He tells the 
story as follows: " Abraham of Abraham, 
a gentilman of a hundred pound land in 
com(itatu) Lanc(astri8e) put his dawghter 
and heire unto my lady Gerrard of the 
Brenne. Sir Thomas and my lady being 
here in London, one Dwelles, a fenser nere 
Cicell howse, and his wift, by indirect 
meanes, being of kyn to the girle, dyd 
invite all my lady's children and gentil- 
woraen unto a breakfast. They cam 
thether, and at theire commyng the 
yowthes and servingmen were cariecj up 
to the ffens skolle. My lady's dowghters 
and gentihvomen must nodes play at the 
cardes, will they nill they. The girle 
Abraham, by the wiff of the howse, was 
conveyghed in to a chamber, and shut the 
dowre after her and there left her. The 
girle found in the chamber iiij. or v. tall 
men. She knew theym not. And yme- 
diatlie the girle fell into a great fleare 
seyng them to compasse her about. Then 
began an old priest to read upon a booke, 
his words she understood not, saving these 
words, ' I Henry take the Suzane to my 
wedded wiff.' This done they charged the 
wenche never to discover this to any body 
lyving, and so sent her downe to her 
fellowes." 

In MS. Lansdowne, 33, is preserved 
an account of the expenses at the wedding 
of Mr. William Wentworth, son of Lord 
Wentworth, and Elizabeth Cecil, daughter 
of the Lord Treasurer Burleigh. The 
affair was unusually sumptuous, and 
lasted three days. A curious letter on the 
subject of the lady's fortune and jointure 
is printed by Ellis in his Third Series. 

Mr. Halliwell, in a note upon the mar- 
riage of the Princess Elizabeth to the 
Elector Frederick of Bohemia, in 1613, in 
his edition of the " Autobiography of Sir 
Simonds D'Ewes," 1845, describes the 
wedding - ceremonial, quoting Wilson's 



450 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



"Life and Reign of James I." "Her 
vestments were white, the emblem of in- 
nocency ; her hair dishevelled, hanging 
down her back at length, an ornament of 
virginity ; a crown of pure gold upon her 

head, the cognizance of majesty 

her train supported by twelve young ladies 
in white garments, so adorned with jewels, 
that her passage looked like a milky way. 
She was led to church by her brother 
Prince Charles and the Earl of North- 
ampton." Mead, in one of his letters to 
Sir Martin Stuteville, giving an account 
of the accession and marriage of Charles 
I. says : " I saw one of the pieces of money 
flung about at the marriage. On one side 
is Cupid, holding in one hand lillies, in the 
other roses. The motto, Fundit Amor 
Lilia mixta Rosis. On the other side, the 
picture of the King and Queene with this, 
Carolus Mag. et Henrietta Maria Rex et 
Regina Magnse Britannioe." These were 
jetons, however, not coins. They oc- 
casionally occur. 

In an indenture of 1496 in relation to 
the prospective marriage of the heir of 
Sir Robert Plumpton to Isabel Babthorpe, 
cousin and heir to Dame Isabel Hastings, 
it is stipulated that Sir Roger shall defray 
the cost of the " array" of his son and of 
the meat and drink to be expended at the 
ceremony, while the bride's uncle Bab- 
thorpe shall pay for her outfit. This was 
the case of an English family in York- 
shire of good standing. Plumpton Cor- 
respondence, 1839, p. C. 

At the marriages of the Anglo-Saxons, 
the parties were attended to church by 
music. In " The Christen State of Ma- 
trimony," 1543, p. 48, we read as follows : 
"Early in the mornyng the weddyng 
people begynne to excead in superfluous 
eatyng and drinkyng, wherof they spytte 
untyll the halfe sermon be done, and when 
they come to the preachynge, they are 
halfe droncke, some all together. There- 
fore regard they neyther the prechyng nor 
prayer, but stond there only because of 
the custome. Such folkes also do come to 
the church with all manner of pompe and 
pride, and gorgiousnes of rayment and 
jewels. They come with a great noyse of 
harpes, lutes, kyttes, Basens, and drom- 
mes, wherwyth they trouble the whole 
church and hyndre them in matters per- 
tayninge to God. And even as they come 
to the churche, so go they from the churche 
agayne. lyght, nyce, in shameful pompe 
and vaine wantonesse." The following is 
from Veron : " I knewe a priest (this is a 
true tale that I tell you, and no lye) 
whiche when any of his parishioners 
should be maryd. woulde take his backe- 
pvpe, and go fetche theym to the churche, 
playnge sweetelye afore them, and then 
would he laye his instrument handsomely 



upon the aultare, tyll he had maryed them 
and sayd masse. Which thyng being done, 
he would gentillye bringe them honie 
agayne with backe-pype. Was not this 
priest a true ministrell, thynke ye? for he 
dyd not conterfayt the ministrell, but was 
one in dede." Hunting of Purgatory to 
Death, 1561, fol. Slv". 

In Deloney's " History of Jack of New- 
bury," 1597, speaking of his marriage and 
the bride's going to church, the writer 
observes, " There was a noise of musicians 
that play'd all the way before her." 
Dame Sibil Turfe, a character in Jon- 
son's "Tale of a Tub," is introduced 
reproaching her husband as follows: "A 
clod you shall be called, to let no music 
go afore your child to church, to chear 
her heart up !" and Scriben, seconding 
the good old dame's rebuke, adds; " She's 
ith' right, sir ; for your wedding dinner 
is starved without music." 

Griffith has the following on marriage 
feasts : " Some cannot be merry without 
a noise of fidlers, who scrape acquaintance 
at the first sight ; nor sing, unlesse the 
divell himselfe come in for a part, and the 
ditty be made in hell," &c. He has before 
said : " We joy indeed at weddings ; but 
how ? Some please themselves in breaking 
broad, I had almost said bawdy jests." 
Bethel, 1634, p. 279. In the same 
work, speaking of his bride, it is 
said, that " after her came the chiefest 
maidens of the country, some bearing 
bridecakes, and some garlands, made of 
wheat finely gilded, and so passed to the 
church. She was led to church between 
two sweet boys, with bridelaces and rose- 
mary tied about their silken sleeves ; the 
one was Sir Thomas Parry, the other Sir 
Francis Hungerford." In later times it 
was among the offices of the bride maids 
to lead the bridegroom to church, as it 
was the duty of the bridegroom's men to 
conduct the bride thither. It is stated in 
the account of the marriage ceremonials 
of Sir Philip Herbert and the Lady Susan, 
performed at Whitehall in the reign of 
James I., that " the Prince and the Duke 
of Holstein led the bride to church." 

In an Bpithalamium by Christopher 
Brooke in the second edition of England's 
Helicon, 1614, we read : 

"Forth, honour'd groome ; behold, not 

farre behind. 
Your willing bride, led by two strength- 
lesse boyes." 
Marked in the margin opposite, "Going to 
church — bride boyes." This has not been 
overlooked in the "Collier's Wedding:" 
" Two lusty lads, well drest and strong, 
Sten'd out to lead the bride along : 
And two young maids, of equal size, 
As soon the bridegroom's hands sur- 
prize." 



ANir POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



451 



j It appears from a passage in Stephens's 
I " Character of a plaine Countrey Bride," 
that the bride gave also, or wore, or 
carried, on this occasion, "gilt rases of 
ginger." " Guilt rases of ginger, rose- 
mary, and ribbands. She will therefore 
bestow a livery, though she receive no 
wages." 

In 1561, one of the officials at the 
Queen's Bench was put in the pillory for 
coming to several gentlemen and ladies, 
and presenting them with nosegays, al- 
leging that he was going to be married. 
This episode rests on the authority of 
Machyn the Diarist; but unluckily the 
passage where it is related is imperfect 
in the MS. In Hacket's "Marriage 
Present," a wedding sermon, the author 
introduces among flowers used on this 
occasion, prim-roses, maidens-blushes, and 
violets. Herrick plays upon the names of 
flowers selected for this purpose. In "Vox 
Graculi," 1623, "Lady Ver, or the 
Spring," is called " The nose-gay giver 
to weddings." 

With regard to nosegays, called by the 
vulgar in the North of England and else- 
where pretty generally, posies, Stephens 
in his " Essayes," 1615, has a remarkable 
passage in his character of A plaine 
Country Bridegroom. " fie shews," says 
he, " neere affinity betwixt marriage and 
hanging : and to that purpose he provides 
a great nosegay, and shakes hands with 
every one he meets, as if he were now pre- 
paring for a condemned man's voyage." 
Nosegays occur in "The Collier's Wed- 
ding." 

It seems to have been customary at 
ordinary weddings in the time of Eliza- 
beth for the party, on their return from 
church, to have an entertainment like our 
breakfast, when the bride was placed in 
the centre by herself, in the seat of 
honour ; but afterward, when the gifts 
were presented to the newly-made couple, 
the man and his wife were seated side by 
side. I collect so much from the " Jeste 
of the Wife Lapped in Morelles Skin " 
circa 1570, where there is this description 
of the latter part of the ceremony : 

"The father and mother fyrst began 

To order them in this wise : 

The brydegrome was set by the brydes 

syde than. 
After the countrey guise. 
Then the father the fyrst present 

brought. 
And presented them there richly, in fay. 
With deeds of his land in a boxe well 

wrought, 
And made them his heyres for aye — " 

Speaking of wedding entertainments, 
Griffith, in his Bethel, 1636, says : " Some 
drink healths so long till they loose it. 



and being more heathenish in this than 
was Ahasuerus at his feast, they urge 
their companions to drinke by measure, 
out of measure." 

Evelyn, under Dec. 5, 1683, relates that 
at the wedding to her fifth husband of a 
Mistress Castle, daughter of a broom-man, 
whose wife sold kitchen stuff in Kent 
Street, but who, growing rich, became 
Sheriff of Surrey, and a fellow-magistrate 
with the diarist, there were present 
the Lord Mayor and civic dignitaries. 
Lord Chief Justice Jefferies, and other 
personages of distinction, and Evelyn 
himself, and that the party was ex- 
ceedingly merry. "These great men," 
says he, " spent the rest of the 
afternoon, till eleven at night, in drinking 
healths, taking tobacco, and talking much 
beneath the gravity of Judges — " Comp. 
Wedding Dinner. "In most parts of 
Essex it is a common custom, we read, 
when poor people marry, to make a kind 
of Dog-hanging or Money-gathering, which 
they call a Wedding-Dinner, to which they 
invite tag and rag, all that will come : 
where, after dinner, upon summons of the 
fidler, who setteth forth his voice like a 
town-crier, a table being set forth, and 
the bride set simpering at the upper end 
of it : the bridegroom standing by with a 
white sheet athwart his shoulders, whilst 
the people march up to the bride, present 
their money and wheel about. After this 
offering is over, then is a pair of gloves 
laid upon the table, most monstrously be- 
daubed about with ribbon, which by way 
of auction is set to sale, at who gives most, 
and he whose hap it is to have them, shall 
withall have a kiss of the bride." History 
of S' Billy of Billericay, & his Squire 
Ricardo (a very admirable parody on 
Don Quixote,) chap. ix. 

What is sometimes termed a Serenade 
in Shakespear's Cynibeline, commencing, 
" Hark ! Hark ! the lark " appears to 
have been intended for a Reveille matin 
to a bride. In 1557-8, William Pickering 
obtained licence to print a ballad en- 
titled " A Ryse and Wake." This was 
evidently a bride's good morrow, and per- 
haps the prototype of the composition 
found in the Roxburghe collection, and 
inserted in Collier's " Roxburgh Ballads," 
1847. In Munday's"John A Kent and John 
A Cumber," is a passage which happily 
illustrates this portion of the subject. It 
is where Turnop and his companions sere- 
nade Marian and Sidanen, and afterward 
do the same to the two bridegrooms. Tom 
Tabrer says: "Well, then tune, all; for 
it drawes toward day ; and if we wake 
not the bryde, why, then, it is woorth 
nothing." In Carleton's account of the 
nuptials of Sir Philip Herbert, it is stated 
that "they were lodged in the Council 



452 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Chamber, where the King gave them a 
reveille matin before they were up." 

According to Donne's " Epithalamium," 
at the marriage of the Princess Elizabeth 
of England and Frederic of Bohemia, 
1613, there was a particular hour, at which 
it was usual to wake the bride : 

" Othres neer you shall whisperinge 

speake. 
And wagers lay at whose side day will 

breake. 
And win by obseruinge then whose hand 

it is, 
That opens first a curtain, hers or his : 
This wilbe try'd to morrow after nyne. 
Till w"*" liowre we thy day enlarge, O 

Valentine." 

This extract is from an early MS. copy of 
the " Epithalamium," now before me. 
It is contained in a MS. volume of 
poems by Donne and others, of which I 
gaye some notice in " Notes and Queries," 
4th ser. ii. Pepys thought it very mean 
on the part of the Penns not to have music 
the morning after the wedding to wake up 
the newly married couple. Diary, 16 Feb. 
1666-7. 

Of such a reveille matin, as used 
on the marriages of respectable mer- 
chants of London in his time, Hogarth 
has left us a curious representation in one 
of his prints of the "Idle and indust- 
rious Apprentice." So, in the "Com- 
forts of Wooing:" "Next morning, come 
the fiidlers, and scrape him a wicked 
reveillez. The drums rattle, the shaumes 
tote, the trumpets sound tan ta ra ra ra, 
and the whole street rings with the bene- 
dictions and good wishes of fidlers, 
drummers, pipers, and trumpetters. You 
may safely say now the wedding's pro- 
claimed." Misson, speaking of the 
reveillez on the morning after a wedding, 
says : "If the drums and fiddles have 
notice of it, they will be sure to be with 
them by day-break, making a horrid 
racket, till they have got the pence." 
Gay, in his " Trivia," has censured the 
use of the drum in this concert. 

Northbrooke says: "In the councell of 
Ivaoditia (holden in the year of our Lorde 
God 364, vnder Pope Liberius) it was 
decreed thus : It is not meete for 
Chi'istian men to dance at their mariages. 
Ijet them dyne and suppe grauely, giuing 
thanks vnto God for the benefite of mar- 
riages. Let the clergie aryse and go 
their wayes, when the players on their 
instruments (which serue for dauncing) 
doe begynne to playe, least by their pres- 
ence they shoulde seeme to allowe that 
wantonesse." Trratise against Dicing, 
Ac. 1577, repr. 122. 

In Scott's "Mock-Marriage," a comedy, 
1696, p. 50, it is said : "You are not so 



merry as men in your condition should 
be ; What ! a couple of weddings and not 
a dance." So, in the ballad called "The 
Winchester Wedding:" 

"And now they had din'd, advancing 
Into the midst of the hall. 

The fidlers struck up for dancing, 
And Jeremy led up the brawl. 

Sucky, that danc'd with the cushion," 
&c. 
The usual custom now is to throw 
slippers after the bride and bridegroom, 
when they go away after the breakfast. 
In 1875 the writer threw one into the 
carriage of his sister-in-law Mrs. Ormrod 
of Pen-y-lan, Ruabon. 

It is frequently the habit, at the com- 
moner sort of weddings, to fling a handful 
of rice in the same manner, when the 
couple quits the house, and at St. Peter's 
Church, Brighton, some rice was lately 
thrown after the pair at the church-door, 
which is not so customary. In 1903 we 
find the vicar of Long Sutton, Lincoln- 
shire, setting up public notices to check 
such a practice, as well as that of throwing 
confetti. 

The custom of demanding toll of a 
bridal party was as recently as 1901 the 
subject of magisterial inquiry at Bingley, 
in Yorkshire, when a labourer was sum- 
moned for street obstruction. While a 
wedding party were on their way in a 
vehicle, defendant attached a rope to a 
lamp-post, and then crossed the road and 
held the rope to stop the carriage. When 
he had done that, he went to the window 
and received something from those inside. 
Some of the wedding party were not at 
all satisfied with the performance. The 
Chairman said the defendant was follow- 
ing out an old custom, and had no in- 
tention of doing any harm ; but the prac- 
tice could not be allov/ed. 

Coles in his English Dictionary speaks 
of Ball-money as given by a bride to her old 
play-fellows. Halliwell states that in the 
North a party attends at the church-gates 
to receive this as a right : but it might be 
equally distributed as a sign of the girl no 
longer requiring her former recreations. 
Brockett thought that the money was in- 
tended for the purchase of a football. 
In Normandy it was customary, as the 
Abbe de la Rue told Brand, for the bride 
to throw a ball over the church for the 
bachelors and married men to scramble 
for, and that they then danced together : 
but in giving this information the abbe 
should have added, that the practice was 
probably confined to the low-pitched 
primitive structures, of which we yet 
possess numerous examples, especially in 
Kent and Essex, and which would alone 
render such a feat possible. 

There was an ancient superstition that 



ANB POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



453- 



for a bride to have good fortune it was 
necessary at her marriage that she should 
•onter the house under two drawn swords 
placed in a manner of a St. Andrew's 
Cross. She was not to step over the 
threshold in entering the bridegroom's 
house, but was to be lifted over by her 
nearest relations. She was also to knit 
her fillets to the door-posts, and anoint 
the sides, to avert the mischievous fasci- 
nations of witches. Previous to this, too, 
she was to put on a yellow veil. In 
Braithwaite's " Boulster Lecture," 1640, 
p. 280, mention occurs of an ancient cus- 
tom, "when at any time a couple were 
married, the scale of the bridegroom's 
ffiho« was to be laid upon the bride's head, 
implying with what subjection she should 
serve her husband. "_ Grose tells us of a 
•singular superstition : i.e. that if in 
a family, the youngest daughter should 
•chance to be married before her older 
sisters, they must all dance at her 
wedding without shoes : this will counter- 
act their ill luck, and procure them hus- 
bands. Pliny mentions that in his time 
■the circos, a sort of tame hawk, was ac- 
counted a lucky omen at weddings. For 
the sun to shine upon the bride was 
the same. In Herrick's " Hesperides," 
p. 258, are ten short songs, or rather 
■choral gratulations, entitled " Connubii 
Flores, or the Well Wishes at Weddings." 

The subsequent I find in Northbrooke's 
"Treatise" 1577: "In olde tim.e we 
reade that there was vsually caried before 
the mayde when she shoulde be maried 
and come to dwell in her husbandes house, 
■a distafle charged with Flaxe, and a 
spyndle hanging at it. to the intente shee 
might bee myndefull to lyue by hir 
labour." 

The Romish rituals give the form 
of blessing the nuptial bed. This 
ceremonial is illustrated by an en- 
graving in the ancient romance of 
Melusine, where it is said that "they 
went and led Raymond in to the pavilion, 
and soon he was brought to bed. And 
then came there the Bishop that had 
spoused them, and did hallow their bed, 
and after that every each one took his 
leave and the curtains were drawn aboxit 
the bed." In the Durham Ritual is the 
«fEce, In thalamn, which appears to be 
■applicable to this occasion. Surtees 
Society ed. 1840, p. 111. From some lines 
l)v Herrick quoted under Torches we infer 
that the woman was conducted to her 
chamber with lights. It was an invariable 
ri'le for the men always to depart the room 
till the bride was undressed by her maids 
■and put to bed. We learn from " Arti- 
■rles ordained by King Henry VII. for the 
Hegulation of his Household," that this 
■ceremony was observed at the marriage of 
a princess. " All men at her coming to 



be voided, except woemen, till she be 
brought to her bedd : and the man, both : 
he sitting in his bedd, in his shirte, with 
a gowne cast about him. Then the bis- 
hoppe with the chaplaines to come in and 
blesse the bedde : then every man to 
avoide without any drinke^ save the twoe 
estates, if they liste priviely." 

In the " British Apollo," before quoted. 
No. 133, is the following query: "Why 
is the custom observed for the bride to 
be placed in a bed next the left hand of 
her husband, seeing it is a general use in 
England for men to give their wives the 
right hand when they walk together.'' A. 
Because it looks more modest for a lady 
to accept the honour her husband does her 
as an act of generosity at his hands, than 
to take it as her right, since the bride 
goes to bed first.'' 

In a letter from Carleton to Win wood, 
of Jan. 1604-5, among other notices re- 
lating to marriages at court, is " At night 
there was casting oft the bride's left hose, 
and many other pretty sorceries." It 
was similarly a custom among the noble 
Germans at weddings for the bride, when 
she was conducted to the bride-chamber, 
to take off her shoe, and throw it among 
the bystanders, which every one strove to 
catch, and whoever got it, thought it 
an omen that they themselves would 
shortly be happily married. Misson, 
writing about 1697, observes: "The 
bride maids carry the bride into the 
bed-chamber, where they undress her, and 
lay her in the bed. They must throw away 
and lose all the pins. Woe be to the bride 
if a single one is left about her ; nothing 
will go right. Woe also to the bride- 
maids if they keep one of them, for they 
will not be married before Whitsontide." 
Or as we read in a book of the following 
century: "till the Easter following at 
soonest." A singular instance of tanta- 
lizing, however incredible it may seem, 
was most certainly practised by our 
ancestors on this festive occasion, i.e. 
sewing up the bride in one of the 
sheets. Herrick, in his Nuptial Song 
on Sir Clipesby Crew and his lady, 
is express to this purpose : 

" But since it must be done, dispatch 

and sowe 
Up in a sheet your bride, and what if 

so," &c. 

It is mentioned too in the account of the 
marriage of Sir Philip Herbert; "At 
night there was sewing into the sheet." 
There was an occasional waggei'y among 
some of the young fellows of the party 
in the shape of tying a bell under the 
marriage-bed. This was also a French 
usage, and in the Conies D'Ourille, i, 3, 
we read: "II oult une risee de jeunes 
hommes qui s'etoieiit expres cachez au- 



454 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



pres de son lit, comme on a coutume de 
faire en pareilles occasions," as if they 
stayed behind in hiding to listen. 

Among the Anglo-Saxons next morning 
the whole company came into the 
chamber of the new married couple, 
before they arose, to hear the hus- 
band declare the morning's gift, when 
his relations became sureties to the 
wife's relations for the performance of 
such promises as were made by the hus- 
band. This was the ancient pin-money, 
and became the separate property of the 
wife alone. Owen explains that word as 
" signifying a garment or cloke with a 
veil, presented by the husband to his 
bride on the morning after marriage : 
and, in a wider sense the settlement he 
has made on her of goods and chattels ade- 
quate to her rank. In more modern 
times there is a custom similar to this in 
Prussia. There the husband may (is 
obliged if he has found her a virgin,) 
present to his bride the Morgengabe or 
gift on the morrow after marriage, even 
though he should have married a widow." 

Nuptial Usages in Scotland, 
&c. — There is an ostensible survival in 
Huntley, Aberdeenshire, of a usage re- 
peatedly mentioned as an act of hospitality 
or devotion in the Hebrew Scriptures. In 
1903, on the eve of an intended marriage 
here between two persons of respectable 
position, the bridegroom being sou of the 
Provost of the town, his feet were washed 
by his friends, and the bride's would have 
undergone the same ceremony, had not 
her health precluded it. These particu- 
lars transpired in the course of legal 
proceedings for breach of promise. 

In the " Statistical Account of Scot- 
land," parish of Gargunnock, co. Stir- 
ling, we read : " It is seldom there are 
social meetings. Marriages, baptisms, 
funerals, and the conclusion of the har- 
vest, are almost the only occasion of 
feasting. Marriages usually happen in 
April and November. The month of May 
is cautiously avoided. A principal ten- 
ant's son or daughter has a crowd of 
attendants at marriage, and the enter- 
tainment lasts for two days at the ex- 
pence of the parties. The company at 
large pay for the musick." 

In Scotland there is said to have been 
formerly, and within living remem- 
brance, a recognised custom that if a man 
and a woman were domiciled together, 
and he addressed her as his wife, she 
became entitled to claim matrimonial 
rights ; or that even if he addressed her 
as wife, and she assented by a curtsey or 
otherwise it was allowed binding. There 
is an anecdote of a celebrated judge lately 
on the bench, who ran a risk of realizing 
the experience in his early career, and lost 
no time in crossing the border. 



In the " Statistical Account of Scot- 
land," the minister of Logierait in 
Perthshire says: "Immediately be- 
fore the celebration of the marriage 
ceremony, every knot about the bride and 
bridegroom (garters, shoe-strings, strings 
of petticoats, &c.) is carefully loosened. 
After leaving the church, the whole com- 
pany walk round it, keeping the church 
walls always upon the right hand. Tha 
bridegroom, however, first retires one way 
with some young men to tie the knots that 
were loosened about him ; while the young, 
married woman, in the same manner,, 
retires somewhere else to adjust the dis- 
order of her dress." 

At the marriage of Miss Harvey to Sir 
Patrick Playfair, November 18, 1903, one 
of the bridesmaids wore for luck green 
stockings. Blue hats and feathers are 
sometimes provided for them in deference 
to the old rhyme : 

" Something old and something new. 

Something borrowed and something 
blue." 
A case quite recently occurred at Berwick, 
where a youthful bride absconded on the 
wedding day, and where the night before 
the bridegroom calling at her home, where 
she then was, and asking to see her, was 
refused by her mother on the plea that 
it was unlucky. 

In " Observations on a Monthes Jour- 
ney into France " (a MS. circa 1626, 
by an Oxford graduate,) is the following 
passage: "A schoUer of the University 
never disfurnished so many of his friendes 
to provide for his jorney, as they (the 
French) doe neighbours, to adorne their 
weddings. At my beinge at Pontoise, I 
sawe Mistres Bryde returne from the 
church. The day before shoe had beene 
somewhat of the condition of a kitchen 
wench, but now so tricked up with 
scarves, rings and crossegarters, that you 
never sawe a Whitsun-lady better rigged. 
I should much have applauded the fel- 
lowes fortune, if he could have maryed 
the cloathes ; but (God be mercifull to hym) 
he is chayned to the wench ; much joy may 
they have together, most peerlesse couple. 

Hymen Hymensei, Hymen, Hymen, O 

Hymenaee ! 

The match was now knytt up amongst 
them. I would have a French man marie 
none but a French woman." 

In a volume published more than a cen- 
tury since, it is said: " 'Tis worthy of 
remark that something like the antient 
custom of strewing the threshold of a new 
married couple with flowers and greens, 
is, at this flay, practised in Holland. 
Among the festoons and foliage, the lauref 
was always most conspicuous : this de- 
noted, no doubt, that the wedding day is 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



^53 



a day of triumph." " Hymen, or an ac- 
curate Description of the Ceremonies used 
in Marriage in every Nation of the 
World," 1760, p. 39. 

Mr Brand heard a gentleman say that 
he was told by Lord Macartney, that on 
the day previous to the marriage of the 
Duke of York (by proxy) to the Princess 
of Prussia, a whole heap of potsherds was 
formed at her Royal Highness' s door, by 
persons coming and throwing them 
against it with considerable violence, a 
custom which obtains in Prussia, with all 
ranks, on the day before a virgin is mar- 
ried ; and that during this singular species 
of battery the Princess, every now and 
then, came and peeped out at the door. 
Mungo Park in his "Travels into the 
Interior of Africa," describes a wedding 
among the Moors, p. 135: "April 10, in 
the evening, the Tabala or large drum 
was beat, to announce a wedding. A 
great number of people of both sexes 
assembled. A woman was beating the 
drum, and the other women joining at 
times in chorus, by setting up a shrill 
scream. Mr. Park soon retired, and hav- 
ing been asleep in his hut, was awakened 
by an old woman, who said she had 
brought him a present from the bride. 
She had a wooden bowl in her hand ; and 
before Mr. Park was recovered from his 
surprize, discharged the contents full in 
his face. Finding it to be the same sort 
of holy water with which a Hottentot 
priest is said to sprinkle a new-married 
couple, he supposed it to be a mischievous 
frolic, but was informed it was a nuptial 
benediction from the bride's own person, 
and which on such occasions is always 
received by the young, unmarried Moors, 
as a mark of distinguished favour. Such 
being the face, Mr. Park wiped his face, 
and sent his acknowledgments to the lady. 
The wedding-drum continued to beat, and 
the women to sing all night. About nine 
in the morning the bride was brought in 
state from her mother's tent, attended by 
a number of women, who carried her tent, 
[a present from the husband,) some bear- 
ing up the poles, others holding by the 
strings, and marched singing until they 
came to the place appointed for her re- 
sidence, where they pitched the tent. 
The husband followed with a number of 
men, leading four bullocks, which they 
tied to the tent-strings, and having killed 
another and distributed the beef among 
the people, the ceremony closed." 

The same traveller has left an account 
of the barbarous cruelty which, at that 
time was exercised at Color, a large town 
in the interior of Africa, upon women 
who had been convicted of infidelity. See 
Bride, Garters, Gloves, Manx, Nuts, Ork- 
ney, Wedding, etc. 



Nurspell or Nor-Spiel. — A boys' 
game in Lincolnshire, somewhat similar 
to trap-ball. See Trap-Ball infra, and 
Halliwell in v. 

Nutmeg:, Gilt — A gift at Christ- 
mas. It appears to be the Gift Nutmeg 
mentioned in Love's Labor's Lost, 1598. 
But Jonsou in Christmas His Masque calls 
it rightly. See Nares m v. 

Nuts. — In the marriage ceremonies- 
amongst the ancient Romans, the bride- 
groom threw nuts about the room for the 
boys to scramble. The epithalamiums in 
the classics prove this. It was a token 
that the party scattering them was now 
leaving childish diversions. See Erasmus 
on the proverb, " Nuces reliuquere." 
Adag., 1606, col. 1356. 

" Postquam te tales aule Nucesque 

Ferre sinu laxo, donare et ludere vidi." 
The Roman boys had some sport or other 
with nuts, to which Horace refers. Nuts 
have not been excluded from the catalogue 
of superstitions under papal Rome. Thus, 
on the 10th of August, in the Romish 
Calendar, I find it observed that some re- 
ligious use was made of them, and that 
they were in great estimation. 

Hutchinson observes that, in divining 
with nuts, " if the nuts lie still and burn 
together, it prog;nosticates a happy mar- 
riage or a hopeful love ; if, on the con- 
trary, they bounce and fly asunder, the 
sign is uupropitious." Northumberland, 
ii, 18. Burns describes the Allhallows 
Even ceremony of " burning the nuts," 
which had also been noticed by Pennant. 
" They name," says Burns, " the lad and 
lass to each particular nut, as they lay 
them in the fire, and accordingly as they 
burn quietly together, or start from be- 
side one another, the course and issue of 
the courtship will be." Poems, 1787^ p. 
55 et seqq. A similar superstition reigns 
in Ireland. This custom is beautifully 
described by Gay in his " Spells :" 

" Two hazel nuts I threw into the flame, 

And to each nut I gave a sweet-heart's 
name : 

This with the loudest bounce me sore 
amaz'd. 

That in a flame of brightest colour 
blaz'd ; 

As blaz'd the nut, so may thy passion 
grow. 

For 'twas thy nut that did so brightly 
glow !" 

Macaulay mentions that in Minorca in 
the earlier part of the eighteenth century, 
a custom as old as Theocritus and Virgil 
was kept up i.e. the ceremony of throwing 
nuts and almonds at weddings, that the 
boys might scramble for them. Virgil 
says: " Spargete, Marite, nuces." Hist, 
of Claybrook, 1791, p. 130. 



456 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Oak-Apple Day "May the 29th," 

says the author of the " Festa Anglo- 
Romana," 1678, "is celebrated upon a 
double account : first in commemoration 
of the birth of our sovereign King Charles 
the Second, the princely son of his 
royal father Charles the First of happy 
memory, and Mary the daughter of Henry 
the Fourth, the French king, who was 
born the 29th day of May 1630 ; and also, 
by Act of Parliament, 12 Car. II. by the 
passionate desires of the people, in me- 
mory of his most happy Restoration." 

"A bow-shoot from Boscobel-house," says 
Stukeley, "just by a horse-track passing 
through the wood, stood the Royal Oak, 
into which the king and his companion. 
Colonel Carlos, climbed by means of the 
hen-roost ladder, when they judg'd it no 
longer safe to stay in the house ; the 
family reaching them victuals with the 
nut hook. The tree is now enclosed in 
with a brick wall, the inside whereof is 
covered with lawrel, of which we may say, 
as Ovid did of that before the Augustan 
palace, ' mediamque tuebere quercum.' 
Close by its side grows a young thriving 
plant from one of its acorns." He adds, 
" Over the door of the inclosure, I took 
this inscription in marble : Felicissiraam 
arborem quam in asylum potentissimi 
Regis Caroli IT. Deus O. M. per quern 
reges regnant hie crescere voluit, tam in 
perpetuam rei tantse menioriam, quam 
specimen firmse in reges fidei, muro cinc- 
tam posteris commendant Basilins et 
Jana Fitzherbert. Quercus arnica Jovi." 

On the 29th of May, the anniversary of 
the Restoration of Charles II., it was long 
customary, especially in the North of Eng- 
land, for the common people to wear in 
their hats the leaves of the oak, which 
were sometimes covered on the occasion 
with leaf-gold. This was done in com- 
memoration of the marvellous escape of 
that monarch from those that were in 
pursuit of him, who passed under the 
very oak tree in which he had secreted 
himself, after the decisive battle of Wor- 
cester. It was also the custom to de- 
■corate the monument of Richard Penderell 
in the church-yard of St. Giles-in-the 
Fields, London, on the 29th of May, with 
oak branches." The boys at Newcastle- 
upon-Tyne had formerly a taunting rhyme 
on this occasion, with which they used to 
insult such persons as they met on this 
day who had not oak leaves in their 
hats : — 

"Roval Oak, 
The Whigs to provoke." 
There was a retort courteous by others, 
who contemptuoTislv wore plane-tree 
leaves, which is of the same homely sort 
of stuff : — 

"Plane-tree leaves; 

The Church-folk are thieves." 



In Brand's M8S. Collections there was 
a note to the following effect: "Two 
soldiers were whipped almost to death, 
and turned out of the service, for wearing 
boughs in their hats on the 29th of May, 
1716." Comp. Halliwell in v. 

Oaths. — Mr. Tyler has devoted a 
volume to this subject ; but I do not find, 
that he has entered much at large into 
the question in some of its more curious 
aspects. It is a branch of the present 
inquiry, which Brand himself completely 
overlooked. Tomlins, in his "Law Dict- 
ionary," 1835, has a useful paper on this 
matter, and Mr. Hampton, in his " Ori- 
gines Patricias," 1846, quoting the Swedish 
saga of "Beowulf" in its Anglo-Saxon 
paraphrase, has some interesting remarks 
on the ancient Saxon or Northern usage of 
swearing fealty on the sword, which was 
called the Wapentake (weapon-touching), 
a term now only understood in its topo- 
graphical acceptation. A passage in the 
"Honest Whore," 1604, the joint pro- 
duction of Decker and Middleton, illu- 
strates the taking of bread and salt 
preparatorily to swearing, in accordance 
with the custom which seems to have 
prevailed on the continent, if not in Eng- 
land : "He took bread and salt by this 
light, that he would never open his lips." 
Middleton's Works, 1840, iii, 103. 

Oaths were formerly administered, not 
on the Bible or Testament, but on the 
Book of Sequences or Tropery, corruptly 
Toper, or on the Pi'imer, as we perceive 
in a letter from Sir Geoffrey Boleyn about 
1460 to John Paston, where he says that 
the late Sir John Fastolfe in his place at 
Southwark, " by his othe made on his 
primer ther, grauntted and promitted to 
me to have the manor of Gun ton — " 

Mr. Fergusson in his Rude Stone 
Monuments, 1872, draws attention to the 
archaic usage or rite of swearing the oath 
to Wodin by two persons joining their 
hands through the hole in the ring Stone 
of Stennis, Orkney, whence we perceive 
the sacred attribute conferred on such 
remains by the popular idea as to the 
origin of their diversion from their per- 
fect form. 

The hand on certain Bohemian and 
Anglo-Saxon coins has been judged to be 
a symbol of the Deity. To hold up the 
hand before superiors seems to be a prac- 
tice susceptible of a twofold explanation : 
as a guarantee that the party held no 
weapon and as an appeal for clemency. 
In the famous ballad-poem of Adam Bel, 
1536, the outlaws lift their hands on 
entering the royal presence ; in the Sco- 
tish courts it has always been usual to 
admit this act as an affirmation, the 
judge and the witness both standing ; and 
the elevation of the hand has been lately 



AND I^UFULAR CUSTOMS. 



457 



allowed in England as a substitute for 
"kissing the book. Hazlitt's Popular 
Poetry of Scotland, &c. 1895, ii, 111. 

Warton has thrown together some of 
the most remarkable oaths in the "Can- 
terbury Tales" of Chaucer: "The Host 
^swears by my father's soul, by the precious 
•corpus madrian, by St. Paul's bell, by 
God's bones, by Christ's nails and blood, 
by St. Damian, by St. Runian, and by 
■Corpus Domini : Sir Thopas, by ale and 
bread : Arcites, by my pan (or head) : 
Theseus, by mighty Mars the red. The 
■carpenter's wife, by St. Thomas of Kent : 
The smith, by Christ's foot: The Cam- 
bridge scholar, by my father's kin, by my 
■crown, for God's benes or benison, and 
by St. Cuthbert : Sir John of Boundis, 
hy Saint Martin : Gamelyn the cook, by 
■God's book, and by my halse (or neck) : 
Gamelyn's brother, by St. Eichere and by 
■Christis ore : A Frankeleyn, by Saint 
James of Galicia : A porter, by God's 
beard : The maister outlawe, by the good 
Tood : The man of law, Depardeux : The 
merchant, by St. Thomas of Inde : The 
Somnour, by God's arms two : The rioter, 
by God's digne bones : The host, again, by 
your father's kin, by arms, blood and 
bones : The monk, by my porthose (or 
breviary) and by God and St. Martin." 

"Be the Rode of Chester," is an asseve- 
Tation used by Langland in his Alliterative 
Poem on the Deposition of Richard II., 
written, it seems, at the end of the four- 
teenth or beginning of the fifteenth 
-century. In "Ralph Roister Doister," 
Roister Doister exclaims : " By the Armes 
of Caleys, it is none of myne." At that 
time Calais was in the hands of the Eng- 
lish, who retained it till 5 Mary. In the 
same play, we find, " by the crosse of my 
■sword," " by cots precious potsticke," 
-and other forms, some unusual and a few 
fantastic. There are also some eccentric 
and scarce forms of adjuration in " The 
Marriage of "Wit and Wisdom," an old 
interlude, such as "By the brains of a 
black-pudding," and " By the guts of a 
■<Tab-louse." In Heywood's " Edward 
I'V." 1600, Hobs the tanner swears " by 
the meg-holly " and " by the mouse- 
foot;" also, "by my holdame," "Gods 
T)lue baulkin," "by my feckins." In the 
■saraeplay, the "Widow Norton is made to 
use Cjocosely) the expression — " Clubs and 
■clouted shoes !" interjectionally. 

The statute -3 James I., against profane 
■swearing, while it led to evasions even 
more profane than the original oaths, 
■seems to have made fashionable a series 
•of whimsical and innocuous asseverations, 
■such as those we find in Hevwood's 
■" Fayre Mayde of the Exchange," 1607 : 

" Bow. Bv this hand, thou shalt go with 
me. 



Crip. By this leg, I will not. 

Bow. A lame oath 1 never stand to that. 

Grip. By this crutch, but I will." 

In " Mery Tales and Quicke Answeres," 
1567, there is this: " Cockes armes (quod 
the bayllye), my poursse is pycked, and my 
moneye is gone." Cockes armes is of 
course a corruption of God's alms — God's 
charity or love; Browne, in his "Past- 
orals," 1614, calls it a dunghill oath : 

" "With that the miller laughing brush'd 
his cloathes. 

And swore by cocke and other dung-hill 
oathes." 
Skelton used the expression in his inter- 
lude entitled "Magnificence," printed 
probably in 1530. In his "Christian 
Admonitions against Cursing and Swear- 
ing," 1629, a broadside, Taylor the water- 
poet denounces the system of profane 
swearing, which in his time had come 
to a rank gro^wth in England, and to 
which John Bunyan admits that he was 
long prone. But Richard "Whitford, a 
brother of Sion, who wrote a century be- 
fore Taylor, makes the same charge 
against his countrymen in his " "Werke for 
Householders," 1530. 

In the "Statistical Account of Scotland," 
vol. X., p. 413, " Parish of Tiry, in Argyle- 
shire," we read: "The common people 
still retain some Roman Catholic sayings, 
prayers, and oaths, as expletives : such as 
' Dias Muire let :' i.e. God and Mary be 
with you ; ' Air Muire,' swearing by Mary, 
&c." In Brittany also they say Dame 
instead of Dieu, referring of course to the 
Virgin or Our Lady. 

Obit. — See Nares and Halliwell in v. 
Numerous instances are cit«d in the pres- 
ent volume of money left for the per- 
formance of obits. Among the Paston 
Letters are two documents of 1444 and 
1447 relative to the grant of lands for 
the performance of obituary service or 
nrayers, called certcynes. Edit. Gairdner, 
i, 52, 66. Funds were bequeathed by 
members of the municipal Gilds of London 
for the celebration of obits in the place of 
worship frequented by the deceased and 
his brethren, the latter attending on the 
appointed day. Hazlitt's Livery Com- 
panies, 1892, passim. In the Privy Purse 
Expenses of Henry VII. under 1493 is an 
item : " To a preste that kepeth King 
Harry, 3s. 4d. " — which is supposed to 
import a memorial service for Henry VI. 
Excerpia Historica, 1833, p. 92. 

Obit Sunday was duly observed at Wind- 
sor on September 27, this year (1903). At 
the morning service the clergy, military 
knights, and choir walked in procession 
through the nave and entered the choir 
by the carved folding doors underneath 
the organ gallery. Bishop Barry deli- 



458 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



vered an interesting statement as to the 
royal founders and other benefactors. 
The Dean of Windsor also preached a 
special sermon. Daily Mail, Sept. 28, 1903. 

Under the will of Richard King of Wis- 
beach, 1504, the testator gave and be- 
queathed the Falcon Petty Cury, Cam- 
bridge, to the Prior and Convent of 
Barnwell, partly on condition that a 
yearly obit was kept at Barnwell for his 
and his friend's souls. Antiquary for 
October, 1903. By an indenture between 
John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, Christ's 
College, Cambridge, and St. John's Col- 
lege, Cambridge, detail Feb. 22, 1525, 
an obit used to be celebrated annually 
for the Bishop on the 3rd. February. 

Old Bail. — In Lancashire the hobby- 
horse is known as Old Ball; but this 
invention, which is, in the county named, 
rnore especially destined to Pace-egging 
time, or Easter, does not by any means 
exactly correspond with the genuine 
hobby-horse of Elizabethan days, but 
seems to be rather a provincial outgrowth 
from it. 

Old Boots. — A popular name for the 
Devil. 

Old Coles. — A correspondent of the 
Athenceum many years since, writing 
from Lower Wick, near Worcester, says : 
"I well remember that, in my juvenile 
days, old people used to speak of a spectre 
that formerly appeared in the parish of 
Leigh, in this county,whom they called Old 
Coles; and said that he frequently used, 
at the dead of night, to ride as swift as 
the wind down that part of the public 
road between Bransford and Brocamin, 
called Leigh Walk, in a coach drawn by 
four horses, with fire flying out of their 
nostnls, and that they invariably dashed 
right over the great barn at Leigh Court, 
and then on into the River Teme. It was 
likewise said that this perturbed spirit 
was at length laid in a neighbouring pool 
by twelve parsons, at dead of night, by 
the light of an inch of candle ; and as he 
was not to rise again until the candle was 
quite burnt out, it was therefore thrown 
into the pool, and, to make all sure, the 
pool was filled up — 

'And peaceful after slept Old Coles's 
shade.' 

Now, as this legend belongs to ghost in- 
stead of fairy lore, and as the scene of 
action was not in a reputed fairy locality, 
I therefore did not notice it in my little 
work "On the Ignis Fatuus ; or Will-o'- 
the- AVisp and the Fairies ;" but it appears 
to be of kin to those mentioned by your 
correspondent. 

" Upon my lately considering the tenor 
of this legend, I was led to think that 



' Old Coles ' must have been a person of 
some quality, and it induced me to look 
into Nash's History of Worcestershire, 
hoping it might throw some light upon the 
subject. Therein, in his account of Leigh 
(vol. ii. p. 73), the author says : ' This- 
ancient lordship of the abbots of Pershore- 
falling by the dissolution of monasteries 
into the king's hands, remained there- 
till Elizabeth's time. The tenants of thfr 
house and demesne, both under the abbot 
and under the king and queen, were the- 
Colles, of which family was Mr. Edward 
(Edmund) Colles, a. grave and learned> 
justice or this shire, who purchased the 
inheritance of this manor, Deo. 19, 1606 : 
whose son and heir, Mr. Edmund Collea 
(ob. 20 Sept. 1615) succeeded him, 
lived in the time of Mr. Habing- 
don, and being loaded with debta 
(which like a snowball from Malvern Hill 
gathered increase), thought fit to sell it 
to Sir Walter Devereux, Bart.' The- 
Colleses were also possessed of the manor 
of Suokley which included those of Alfrick 
and Lusley. There is a farm called Colles- 
Place (vulgo Coles Place, or Cold Place),, 
in Lusley, — ' which is mentioned in a led- 
ger of the Priory of Malvern, in the reign 
of Henry III. as belonging to the family 
of Colles' — see Nash, vol. ii. p. 400, — 
which adjoins Leigh ; and it shared the- 
same fate, as appears by Nash's History, 
vol. ii. p. 397, as follows: " 'The manor 
of Suckley remained in the name of Hun- 
gerford till it passed by purchase- 
from them to Mr. Edmund Colles, of 
Leigh, in the reign of Elizabeth. He left 
it to his son, Mr. William Colles, whose- 
heir, Mr. Edmund Colles, sold it to Sir 
Walter Devereux, knight and baronet.' 
Now, it is not improbable that the- 
legend may have referred to the unfor- 
tunate Edmund Colles, the second son 
who, having lost his patrimony, and per- 
haps died in distress, his spirit may have- 
been supposed to haunt Leigh Court,, 
which was the seat of his joys in prosperity 
and the object of his regrets in adversity."' 
See Allies' Antiquities of Worcestershire, 
1856, p. 452. But for a reason which will 
be, perhaps, made apparent by a reference- 
to the 2nd edition of my Proverbs. 1882, 
pp. 315-16, I do not place much reliance, 
or any at all, on the theory propounde<I 
in Allies. 

In the Comedy of Look About You, 1600,. 
there is an allusion to Old Cole, where it 
appears to be used as a sort of common' 
nick-name or by-word : 

Bob. Ah, old Cole, now look about : youi 
are catcht. 

And in the Stationers' Registers, under 
date of January 25, 1636-7, occurs Thei 
History of Old Cole of Reading, as if it 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



459 



were some well-known popular tale or 
legend. Now, does it not appear very 
probable that this Old Cole was the same 
&s the famous hero of romance, Thomas 
'Cole, of Reading, whose real or supposed 
history and eventual murder at Colebrook 
by the host and hostess of the Crane Inn, 
Master and Mistress Jarman — of whom 
the latter might have supplied Shakes- 
pear with a hint for Lady Macbeth — are 
so entertainingly related by Deloney? A 
book which became extremely popular, 
and of which indeed the earliest impres- 
sions have perished, would naturally have 
diffused itself far beyond the topographi- 
■cal limits which the writer has assigned 
to it ; nor can we be quite assured that 
the employment of the term " Old Cole " 
in a tract of 1592, as I have mentioned in 
my Proverbs, 1882, p. 315, did not ori- 
ginate in the same person, whose reputa- 
tion was of course the ground for making 
him the subject of a book. 

Old Harry. — One of the popular 
names of the Devil. 

Old Nick Old Nick is the vulgar 

name of the evil being in the North of 
England, and is a name of great antiquity. 
There is a great deal of learning concern- 
ing it in Olaus Wormius. We borrowed 
it from the title of an evil genius among 
the ancient Danes. They say he has often 
appeared on the sea and on deep rivers 
in the shape of a sea monster, presaging 
immediate shipwreck and drowning to 
seamen. Junii Etymolog. v. Nick. 

A writer in the " Gentleman's Maga- 
zine " for March, 1777, says, "Nobody 
has accounted for the Devil's having the 
name of Old Nick. Keysler mentions a 
Deity of the Waters worshipped by the 
n,ntient Germans and Danes under the 
name of Nocca, or Nioken, styled in the 
Kdda Nikur, which he derives from the 
German Nugen, answering to the Latin ne- 
care. Wormius says,the redness in the faces 
of drowned persons was ascribed to this 
Deity's sucking their blood out of their 
nostrils. Mon. Dan. p. 17. Wasthovius 
calls him Neccus, and quotes, from a 
Belgo-Gallic Dictionary, Neccar, Spiritus 
aquations, and Necce necare. Pref. ad 
vitas Sand, and Antiq. Suio-Goth. 17. 
The Islandic Dictionary in Hickes renders 
Nikur hellua aauatica. Thesaurus, iii, 
85. Lastly, Rudbekius mentions a notion 
prevalent among his countrymen, that 
Neckur, who governed the sea, assumed 
the form of various animals, or of a 
horseman, or of a man in a boat. He 
supposes him the same with Odin. At- 
lantis, part 1, c. 7. But the above 
authorities are sufficient to evince that he 
was the Northern Neptune, or some sub- 
ordinate sea-god of a noxious disposition. 
It is not unlikely but the name of this 



evil spirit might, as Christianity prevailed 
in these Northern nations, be transferred 
to the Father of Evil." 

This name, so familiar to our ears 
now-a-days, is derived with most probabi- 
lity from the nickers, or water-fairies, 
who were considered apparently by some 
of our old etymologists as equivalent to 
the sirens of classical fiction. Nicker is 
no longer preserved either as a se- 
parate designation, or in any other 
form, except in this sense so widely dis- 
tinct from its original meaning. But ex- 
amples of a similar kind, where the monks 
have borrowed from the fairy-mythology 
the nomenclature for another class of in- 
visible powers, are not unfrequent. The 
authors of "Lancashire Folk-Lore," 1867, 
notice that "the Danish vikings called 
the Scandinavian sea-god Hold Nickar, 
which in time degenerated into the 
ludicrous expression. Old Nick ;" but this 
statement is scarcely accurate. What 
immediately follows in the same work is 
more to the purpose. Nor should it be 
overlooked that, in the " History of Rey- 
nard the Fox," translated into English 
in 1481, from a Flemish original, the wolf 
calls the offspring of the marmoset (simia 
caudata) " nyckers." This is a re- 
markable piece of testimony, assuming 
(which is not by any means perfectly clear) 
that Old Nick is derived from this source. 

For an account of the mischievous spirit 
" Nick," whose name and attributes are 
forgotten, except in connection with the 
ceremonies of Nickynan-night, and the 
Harvest festival, — vide report of the 
Royal Institute of Cornwall for 1842. 

Old Scratch (which a writer in the 
" AthenEsum," No. 983, derives from the 
antiquus hostis of the Fathers, and the 
Auld Ane, i.e. the Old One, are also names 
appropriated to the same evil being by the 
vulgar in the North. The epithet old to 
so many of his titles is of course employed 
and understood in a secondary or con- 
ventional sense. 

Old Shock. — See Hunt's Bomances 
of the West of England, ii, 59. 

Ombre or Hombre A game at 

cards, of Spanish origin, similar to prim- 
ero, on which it is said to be an improve- 
ment. It seems to have been played with 
four counters. An account of it, described 
on the title as "written at the request 
of divers Honourable Persons," was 
published in 1660 ; it is here called a royal 
game. A third type was known as 
Quadrille ; but of ombre itself there was 
more than one variety, according to the 
Corn-pleat Gamester, 1721 ; it is of a 
specially interesting character, because it 
seems to have been of great antiquity in 
Spain, and, as its name implies, is signi- 
ficant of national life and manners. Mr. 



460 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



John Piggot has cited the following 
passage from Taylor's History of Play- 
ing Cards: — "The Italians have been 
the inventors of almost all the games of 
pure chance ; the Spaniards, on the con- 
trary, affect none but those of a dignified 
character. Their national game — ombre, 
' the game of man,' a modification of the 
earlier game of primero — is of all modern 
games that which most resembles the an- 
cient tarot. We may conclude, therefore, 
that it is the earliest of existing games, 
and upon that assumption, that the 
Spaniards were the earliest card players." 
Comp. Quadrille: Halliwell's Arch. Diet. 
in V. : Hazlitt's Bibl. Coll. i, 310, and 
Suppl. to Coins of Europe, 1897, v. Sar- 
dinia. In old houses there used to be 
tables with pools for playing ombre. 

Omens. — The word omen is well 
known to signify a sign, good or bad, 
or a prognostic. It may be defined to be 
that indication of something future, which 
we get as it were by accident, and without 
our seeking for. A superstitious regard 
to omens seems anciently to have made 
very considerable additions to the common 
load of human infelicity. They are now 
pretty generally disregarded, and the 
wiser among us look back with perfect 
security and indifl'erence on those trivial 
and truly ridiculous accidents which al- 
ternately afforded matter of joy and 
sorrow to our ancestors. 

" L. Paullus, Consul iterum, cum ei, 
bellum ut cum Rege Perse gereret, ob- 
tigisset ; ut ea ipsa die domum ad 
vesperum rediit, filiolam suam Tertiam, 
quse turn erat admodum parva, osculans 
animadvertit tristiculam : quid est, in- 
quit, mea Tertia? quid tristis es? Mi 
pater, inquit, Persa periit. Turn ille 
arctius Puellam complexus, accipio, in- 
quit, mea filia, omen : erat autem mortuus 
catellus eo nomine." Cicero de Divinat. 
lib. i. sect. 46. 

Gibbon speaking of the wars of the 
Emperor Maurice against the Avars, a.d. 
595, tells us, that on setting out, " he (the 
Emperor) solicited without success a 
miraculous answer to his nocturnal 
prayers. His mind was confounded by 
the death of a favourite horse, the en- 
counter of a wild boar, a storm of wind 
and rain, and the birth of a monstrous 
child—" 

Omens appear to have been so numerous 
that we must despair of ever being able 
to recover them all : and to evince that 
in all ages men have been self-tormentors, 
the bad omens fill a catalogue infinitely 
more extensive than that of the good. 

Llodowick Lloyd, in his Stratnrjems of 
Jerusalem, 1602, has collected some 
scattered notices of the belief in this class 
of manifestations among the ancients : 



' ' Themistocles was assured of victory over 
King Xerxes and his huge army by crow- 
ing of a cocke, going to the Battle at Arte- 
misium, the day betore battell began, wha 
having obtained so great a victory, gave- 
a cocke in his ensigne ever after." .... 
' ' The first king of Rome, Romulus, 
builded his kingdom by flying of fowles 
and soothsaying. So Numa Pompil. was. 
chosen second king of Rome by flying of 
fowles. So Tarquinius Prisons : an eaglfr 
took his cappe from his head and fled 
up on high to the skies, and after des- 
cended, and let his cappe fall on his head 
againe, signifying thereby that he should 
be king of Rome." .... "The Ara- 
bians, Carians, Phrygians, and Cilicians, 
do most religiously observe the chirp- 
ing and flying of birds, assuring them- 
selves good and bad events in their 
warres." . ..." So superstitious grew 
the gentils, with such abhominable idola- 
try, that in Persia by a cock, in Egypt 
by a bull, in ^thiope by a dog, they tooke 
soothsaying ; in Beotia by a beech tree, in 
Epyre by an Oake, in Delos by a dragon, 
in Lycia by a wolfe, in Ammon by a 
ramme, they receive their oracles, as their 
warrant to commence any warre, to enter 
any battell, or to attempt any enterprize." 

Warkworth, who was a contemporary, 
describes three curious portents (as they 
were then regarded) which occurred in the 
thirteenth year of the reign of Edward 
IV. One was the foul and troubled state 
of the streams in various places, among 
others, at Hungervale, seven miles from 
Dudley, " that whenne," he proceeds, " it 
betokenethe batayle it rennys foule and 
trouble watere ; and whenne betokenythe 
durthe or pestylence, it rennyth as clere 
as any watere, but this yere it renne 
ryght troubled and foule watere. Also ther 
is a pytte in Kente, in Langley Parke : 
ayens any batayle he will be drye, and it 
rayne nevere so myche ; and if ther be no 
batayle towarde, he wille be fulle of 
watere, be it nevyre so drye a wethyre, 
and this yere he is drye. Also this same 
yere, ther was a voyce cryenge in the 
heyre, ' Bowes, Bowes,' whiche was herde 
of al menne ; and many other dyverse 
tokenes have be schewede in Englcnde 
this yere, for amendynge of mennys- 
lyvynge." 

Edward IV., at the battle of Morti- 
mer's-Cross, is traditionally reported tO' 
have seen three suns, which blended im- 
mediately afterwards into one, and to this 
phenomenon is said to be due the addition 
of the sun to his cognizance. This is 
alluded to by Shakespear in the "Third 
Part of Henry the Sixth." At the ac- 
cesion of Queen Elizabeth, in November, 
1558, a storm burst over London, with 
thunder and lightning, and Sir John Hay- 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



461 

to the Tower that he was crowned. I 
put no great stress upon these omens, but 
I cannot despise them ; most of them, I 
believe, come by chance, but some from 
superior intellectual agents, especially 
those which regard the fates of kings and' 
nations." 

Nash, speaking of the plague in London,, 
says: "The vulgar menialty conclude- 
therefore it is like to increase, because a 
hearnshaw, a whole afternoon together, 
sate on the top of Saint Peters Church 
in Cornehill. They talk of an oxe that 
told the bell at Wolwitch, and how from 
an oxe he transformed himselfe to an old 
man, and from an old man to an infant, 
and from an infant to a young man. 
Strange prophetical reports fas touching 
the sicknes) they mutter he gave out, 
when in truth they are nought els but 
cleanly coined lies, which some pleasant 
sportive wits have devised to gull them 
most grossely." Christ's Tears over 
Jerusalem, 1593, ed. 1613, p. 185. 

Rats gnawing the hangings of a room, 
says Grose, is reckoned the forerunner of 
a death in the family. It was looked 
upon as a bad omen, if either a rat or 
mouse, gnawed one's clothes. This, how- 
ever, was an idea derived from th& 
classical ages. Cicero, in his Second 
Book on Divination, ridicules the pro- 
pensity of his contemporaries to regard 
the gnawing of any thing by mice as a 
portent. For, he says, " before the Mar- 
sian war, because the Lanuvian mice ate- 
the shields, the augurs held it to be a very 
great omen. As though indeed it signi- 
fied ought, whether mice had eaten shields, 
or sieves (cribra) — ;" and Delrio, in his 
" Disquisitions on Magic," introduces, 
aptly enough, the anecdote related of 
Cato who, when told by some one that 
the mice had eaten his shoes, replied that 
that was no harbinger, but that the won- 
der would have been, if the mice had been 
eaten by the shoes. The same rejoinder 
has been put into the mouth of a more 
modern celebrity. 

A writer in the " Athenian Oracle " 
asserts that he "knew a family never 
without one cricket before some one dyed 
out of it ; another, that an unknown voice- 
always called the person that was to die ; 
another, that had something like a 
wand struck upon the walls ; and 
another, where some bough always falls off 
a particular tree a little before death." 
He adds, inconsistently enough, " But 
ordinarily such talk is nonsense, and de- 
pends more upon fancy than any thing 
else." In the same work, we read of "its 
being a common thing that before a king 
or some great man dies, or is beheaded, 
&o., his picture or image suffers some 
considerable damage, as falling from th©- 



ward, in his Annals of the first four years 
of this reign, observes: "Likewise the 
spire of AUhallows church, in Bread 
Streete, being then of stone, was smitten 
about ten foote beneath the topp, from 
which place a stone was strucke that slew 
a dogg and overthrew a man with whom 
the dogg played. The accident was at 
that time esteemed prodigious by some 
whose affections rann with a bias, onely 
because it ensued soe greate actiones of 
change." In the November of 1623, while 
a priest named Drury was preaching to 
an audience in a room in the Blackfriars, 
the floor gave way, and several persons 
were killed. This casualty became well- 
known as the Fatal Vesper. In a copy of 
a contemporary account of the calamity, a 
MS. note says: "I am informed by the 
worshipful M. Thomas Smith of Bow Lane 
that besides those persons here recited was 
one Mr. Walsted of Oxfordshire, gentle- 
man, who coming vp to London w"" a 
resolute purpose to disherite his eldest 
Sonne who was a protestant, was drawne 
vnto this exercise, and there perished, 
before hee had efiected what hee had 
determined to do." Walter Yonge, Esq. 
M.P. for Honiton in the time of James 
I., carefully notes down in his Diary, 
published by the Camden Society, all the 

Eortents and omens he witnessed or could 
ear of. There are several recorded by 
him as happening in one year — 1607. It is 
said by Sir Simonds D'Ewes, that the 
silver bowl given by Sir Jervis Elvis, one 
of the accomplices in the Overbury mur- 
der, to St. John's College, Cambridge, 
fell down on the day of his execution 
at Tower Hill. , 

Aubrey, in his "Remains of Gentilism 
and Judaism," notices several portents 
which happened before changes of govern- 
ment in his time. At Sir Thomas Tren- 
chard's, at Lichet in Dorset, on the first 
day of the sitting of the Parliament, 1641, 
while the family were at dinner, the 
sceptre fell out of the king's hand, in 
plaister, in the hall. At his majesty's 
trial, the head of his cane fell off. And 
before Cromwell's death, a great whale 
came to Greenwich. He notices the tearing 
of the canopy at James II. 's coronation, 
in returning from the Abbey: adding, 
"'twas of cloth of gold, and my strength 
I am confident could not have rent it, 
and it was not a windy day." Hickes, 
in a letter to Charlett (Jan. 23, 1710-111 
also mentions "the omens that happened 
at the Coronation of James II., which," 
says he, " I saw : viz. the tottering of the 
crown upon his head : the broken canopy 
over it; and the rent flag hanging upon 
the White Tower when I came home from 
the Coronation. It was torn by the wind 
at the same time the signal was given 



462 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



place where it hung, the string breaking 
by some strange invisible touch." Gay 
mentions, among rustic omens, the we- 
ther's bell and the lambkin ; as also bees : 

" The weather's bell 

Before the drooping flock toU'd forth 

her knell." 

* » » 

" The lambkin, which her wonted ten- 
dance bred, 
Drop'd on the plain that fatal instant 

dead." 

* « » 

" Swarm'd on a rotten stick the bees 
I spy'd. 

Which erst I saw when Goody Dobson 
dy'd." 

I recollect nothing at present which 
Beams to have been derived into modern 
superstition from the ancient mode of de- 
ducing omens from the inside of animals, 
unless it be that concerning the Merry 
Thought, thus noticed by the " Spec- 
tator :" "I have seen a man in love turn 
pale and lose his appetite upon the pluck- 
ing of a Merry Thought." 

In Dives and Pauper, 1493, ch. 46, it is 
■said: "Some man hadde levyr to mete 
with a froude or a frogge in the way than 
with a knight or a squier, or with any 
man of religion, or of Holy Churche, for 
than they say and leve that they shal have 
gold. For sumtyme after the metyng of 
a frogge or a tode they have resceyved 
•golde — wele I wote that they resseyve 
•golde of men or of wymen, but nat of 
frogges ne of todes, but it be of the Devel 
in lyknesse of a frogge or a tode — these 
labourers, delvers, and dykers, that moost 
mete with frogges and todes, been fulle 
pore comonly and but men paye them 
their hyre, they have lytel or nought." 

Willsford informs us that " Trefoile or 
•Clavergrasse, against stormy and tempes- 
tuous weather, will seem rough, and the 
leaves of it stare and rise up, as if it 
were afraid of an assault. Tezils, or 
Fuller's Thistle, being gathered and 
hanged up in the house where the air may 
come freely to it, upon the alteration of 
•cold and windy weather, will grow 
smoother, and against rain will close up 
his prickles. Heliotropes and marigolds 
do not only presage stormy weather, by 
closing or contracting together their 
'leaves, but turn towards the sun's rays 
all the day, and in the evening shut up 
-shop. Pine-apoles hanging up in the 
house, where they freely may enjoy the 
air. will close themselves against wet and 
cold weather, and open against hot and 
dry times. The leaves of trees and plants 
in general will shake and tremble against 
a tempest more than ordinary. All ten- 
-der buds, blossoms, and delicate flowers, 
-against the incursion of a storm, do con- 



tract and withdraw themselves withxn 
their husks and leaves, whereby each may 
preserve itself from the injury of the 
weather. Leaves in the wind, or down 
floating upon the water, are signs of tem- 
pests. In Autumn, (some say,) in the gall 
or oak-apple, one of these three things 
will be found (if cut in pieces,) : a flie, 
denoting want ; a worm, plenty ; but, if a 
spider, mortality." Nature's Secrets, 
1658, p. 136, 144. Lupton has remarked, 
on the authority of Mizaldus : "If you 
take an oak-apple from an oak tree, and 
open the same, you shall find a little worm 
therein, which if it doth flye away, it 
signifieth wars ; if it creeps, it betokens 
scarceness of corn : if it run about, then 
it foreshews the plague. This is the 
countryman's astrology, which they have 
long observed for truth. The leaves of an 
elm tree, or of a peach tree, falling before 
their time, do foreshow or betoken a mur- 
rain or death of cattle." Notable Things, 
ed. 1660, p. 52. 

Elsewhere we find : " The fly in the oak- 
apple is explained as denoting war ; the 
spider, pestilence ; the small worm, 
plenty." Suppl. to Ath. Oracle, 476. 
Willsford adds that "The broom having 
plenty of blossoms, or the walnut tree, is 
a sign of a fruitful year of corn," and that 
" great store of nuts and almonds presage 
a plentiful year of corn, "especially fil- 
berds." " When roses and violets flourish 
in Autumn " he says, "it is an evil sign 
of an ensuing plague the year following, 
or some pestiferous disease." To rise on 
the right side was accounted lucky. 80 
Claudio, in Fletcher's Women Pleased, 
says to Soto, who has been shot, but is 
not severely hurt : " You rose of your right 
side, and said your prayers too : you had 
been paid else." Dvce's B. and F. vii. 19. 
So in Marston's What you Will, 1607 : 
"you rise on your right side to-day, 
marry " ; and again, in the Dumb Knight, 
by Lewis Machin, 1608, iv, 1, Alphonso 
says : 

" Sure I said my prayers, ris'd on my 

right side, 
Wash'd hands and eyes, put on my 

girdle last. 
Sure I met no splea-footed baker. 
No hare did cross me, nor no bearded 

witch. 
Nor other ominous sign — " 

It was considered unfortunate, on the 
contrary, to rise on the left side (or, as 
we still indeed say sometimes, to get out 
at the wrong side of the bed) , and also to 
p ... on a nettle, if we must trust a 
passage in the interlude of the " Marriage 
of Wit and Wisdom," and a second in 
Elderton's ballad of "Lenten Stuffe," 
1570. 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



463 



Many persons consider it unlucky to pasa 
under a ladder, as it may prevent you 
from being married that year, to com- 
mence any work or even journey on a 
Friday, to see the new moon for the first 
time through glass, to cross steel, and so 
forth. It is thought to be a bad omen, if 
a lover sends his mistress a lock of his 
hair, and she accepts it, or to present a 
knife or pair of scissors to a friend, with- 
out taking a halfpenny or some such trifle 
in exchange. It is considered a sure sign 
by many persons that there will be another 
death very shortly in the family, when a 
corpse is limp or ilabby, and there is 
always consequently a certain feeling of 
security; when the body of a deceased 
person is stiff. We gather that in the 
ages of chivalry it was thought unlucky to 
meet with a priest, if a man were going 
forth to war or a tournament. Gaule 
adds, " So much the rather if it be early 
in the morning." Defoe observes : "Some 
will defer going abroad, tho' call'd by 
business of the greatest consequence, if on 
going out, they are met by a person who 
has the misfortune to squint. This 
turns them immediately back, and per- 
haps, by delaying till another time what 
requires an immediate despatch, the affair 
goes wrong, and the omen is indeed ful- 
filled, which, but for the superstition of 
the observer, would have been of no 
effect." Duncan Campbel, 1732, p. 61. 
Melton says: "That it is a very unfor- 
tunate thing for a man to meete early in 
the morning an ill-favoured man or 
woman, a rough-footed hen, a shag-haird 
dog, or a black cat." Astrologaster, 1620, 
46. By the following simile from Belvi- 
dere, 1600, p. 160, it should seem that our 
ancestors considered "Heaviness" as an 
omen of some impending evil : 

"As heaviness foretels some harme at 

hand, 
So minds disturb'd presage ensuing 

ills." 

In connection with this part of the sub- 
ject. Brand quoted (not quite correctly) 
the annexed passage from Middleton's 
"Games at Chess," 1624. Works, ed. 
1840, vol. iv. p. 370. 

" White Queen's Pawn. — A sudden fear 
invades me, a faint trembling, 

Under this omen. 

As is oft felt the panting of a turtle 

Under a stroking hand. 

"Black Queen's Pawn. — That bodes 
good luck still. 

Sign you shall change state speedily ; 
For that trembling 

Is always the first symptom of a bride." 

fihakeyiear, in Bichard III., 1597, makes 
liord Hastings say that he might have 



avoided committal to the Tower, had he 
attended to the forewarning given by his 
palfrey which stumbled thrice, and 
started^ when it looked on the Tower. 

lu Lincoln and the vicinity, the follow- 
ing lines used to be current : 

"Take out, then take in, 
Bad luck will begin ; 
Take in, then take out. 
Good luck comes about." 

Which bears upon a superstitious belief 
prevailing in that part of the country 
that it is a bad omen for the ensuing year, 
if anything, even the merest trifle, is 
removed from a house, till some article 
has been brought into it. Shaw, the 
historian of Moray, tells us that the an- 
cient Scots much regarded omens in their 
expeditions : an armed man meeting them 
was a good omen : if a woman bare-foot 
crossed the road before them, they seized 
her and fetched blood from her forehead : 
if a deer, fox, hare, or any beast of game 
appeared, and they did not kill it, it was 
an unlucky omen. The minister of Apple- 
cross, Co. Ross, writing about 1795, 
observes: "The fabulous Boece records 
a tradition prevailing in his time, viz., 
that if a young woman should walk over 
the grave of Vanora, she shall entail on 
herself perpetual sterility." Stat. Ace. 
iii, 379. In the 18th century, at Forghen, 
in Banffshire, there were many believers 
in omens. Stat. Ace. xiv, 541. 

" Omens and Prognostications of 
Things," says Bourne, " are still in the 
mouths of all, though only observed by 
the vulgar. In country places especially 
they are in great repute, and are the 
directors of several actions of life, being 
looked upon as presages of things future, 
or the determiners of present good or 
evil." He specifies several, and derives 
them with the greatest probability from 
the heathens, whose observations of these 
he deduces also from the practice of the 
Jews, with whom it was a custom to ask 
signs. He concludes all such observations 
at present to be sinful and diabolical. 
Antiq. Vulg. p. 70. 

Gay ridicules these superstitious ideas : 

" Whv are those tears? why droops your 

headP 
Is then your other husband dead? 
Or does a worse disgrace betide? 
Hath no one since his death apply'd ? 
Alas ! you know the cause too well. 
The salt is spilt, to me it fell. 
Then to contribute to my loss, 
My knife and fork were laid across. 
On Fryday too ! the day I dread ! 
Would I were safe at home in bed ! 
Last night, (I vow to Heav'n 'tis true,) 
Bounce from the fire a coffin flew. 

FF 



4^4 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Next post some fatal news shall tell ! 
God send my Cornish friends be well ! 

» » * 

That raven on your left-hand oak 
(Curse on his ill-betiding croak,) 
Bodes me no good. No more she said, 
When poor blind Ball, with stumbling 

tread. 
Fell prone ; o'erturn'd the pannier lay, 
And her mas'd eggs bestrew'd the way. 
She, sprawling in the yellow road, 
Bail'd, swore and curst. Thou croaking 

toad, 
A murrain take thy whoreson throat ! 
I knew misfortune in the note. 

Dame, quoth the raven, spare your 

oaths, 
Unclench your fist, and wipe your 

cloathes ; 
But why on me those curses thrown? 
Goody, the fault was all your own ; 
For had you laid this brittle ware 
On Dun, the old sure-footed mare, 
Though all the Ravens of the Hundred 
With croaking had your tongue out- 

thunder'd. 
Sure-footed Dun had kept his legs. 
And you, good woman, sav'd your 



MolinBBUs (Vates, p. 218) refers to the 
belief of the ancient Germans in omens 
derived from the neighing and whinnying 
of horses, as describe by Tacitus, and in 
his own time, it was thought disastrous 
if, on leaving one's house very early in the 
morning, one encountered first either a 
black man or a lame man. 

Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan 
(1421-47), considered it a bad omen if he 
accidentally put his right foot into his left 
shoe, and Dr. Schliemann, the Greek 
archseologist, was persuaded by an old 
woman always to put on his left stocking 
first. Hazlitt's Veneiian Bepuhlic, 1900, 
ii, 88. 

The following superstitions among the 
Malabrians are related in Phillips's Ac- 
count of them, 1717: "It is interpreted 
as a very bad sign if a blind man, a 
Bramin, or a washerwoman, meets one in 
the way : as also when one meets a man 
with an empty panel, or when one sees 
an oil mill, or if a man meets us with his 
head uncovered, or when one hears a, 
weeping voice, or sees a fox crossing the 
way, or a dog running on his right hand, 
or when a poor man meets us in our way, 
or when a cat crosses our way : moreover 
when any earthen pot maker or widow 
meets us, we interpret it in the worst 
sense : when one sprains his foot, falls on 
his head, or is called back : presently the 
Professors of Prognostication are con- 



sulted, and they turn to the proper 
chapter for such a sign, and give th* 
interpretation of it." 

One and Thirty, or Whip-her- 
Jenny. — The game of cards so called. 
When Nares published his Glossary 
in 1822, it was still played, but chiefly 
among children. The great object of 
the expert player was to get the 
ace at the bottom, which counting; 
eleven went a good way toward winning 
the game. Chatto (Facts and Specu- 
lations, 1848, p. 115) states that it was 
a favourite game both in Spain and 
Ireland. The following reference to 
it is made in Taylor's " Wit and 
Mirth," 1629: "An unhappy boy, 
that kept his fathers sheepe in the 
country, did vse to carry a paire of cards 
in his pocket, and meeting with boyes as 
good as himself, would fall to cards at 
the Cambrian game of whip-her-ginny, 
or English one and thirty ; at which sport 
hee would some dayes lose a sheepe or 
two." The fact of the ace, as above 
noticed, reckoning as eleven, bespeaks it 
a sort of vingt-et-un. Comp. Halliwell 
in V. 

Onion-pennies. — Roman coins so 
called in Kennett's time at Silchester, 
supposed from a giant named Oniona, 
a legendary inhabitant of the city. 

Onions. — Burton speaks of " Crom- 
nysmantia," a kind or divination with 
onions laid on the altar at Christmas Eve, 
practised by girls, to know when they 
shall be married, and how many hus- 
bands they shall have. Anatomy, 1621, 
ed. 1660, p. 538. "With the intro- 
duction of the Protestant Faith," says an 
early writer, "were introduced your 
Gallegascones, your Scabilonians, your 
St. Thomas Onions, your ruffes, your 
cuffes, and a thousand such new-devised 
Luciferian Trinkets." Quatron of Catho- 
like Beligion, by Tho. Hyll, 1600, p. 86. 
In a tract of later date is the following 
passage: " Macq. Some convenient well 
scituated stall wherein to sit and sell time, 
rue, and rosemary, apples, garlike, and 
Saint Thomas onyons, will be a fit palace 
for me to practice pennance in." Dia- 
logue between Mistris Macquerella, &c. 
1650, p. 4. This appears from Naogeor- 
gus to have been a German custom on St. 
Valentine's Day : — 

" In these same dayes young wanton 

gyrles, that meete for marriage bee. 
Doe search to know the names of them 

that shall their husbandes bee. 
Four onyons, five, or eight they take, 

and make in every one 
Such names as they do fansie most, 

and best do think upon. 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



465 



Thus neere the chimney them they set, 
and that same onyon than, 

That firste doth sproute, doth surely 

beare the name of their good man." 

Popish Kingdom, by Googe, 1570, fol. 44. 

Open-Tide. — The interval between 
Epiphany and Ash Wednesday. See 
Halliwell in v. where it is stated that 
in some places the time after harvest is 
or was so termed. 

Oratio Prevaricatoria. — See 
Hazlitt's edit, of Randolph, 1875, p. 671. 

Ordeals. — Strutt, in his " Des- 
cription of the Ordeals under the Saxons," 
tells us, that the second kind of Ordeal 
by water, was, ' ' to thrust the accused 
into a deep water, where, if he struggled 
in the least to keep himself on the surface, 
he was accounted guilty ; but if he re- 
mained on the top of the water without 
motion, he was acquitted with honour. 
Hence," he observes, "without doubt came 
the long-continued custom of swimming 
people suspected of witchcraft. There are 
also," he further says, "the faint traces 
of these ancient customs in another super- 
stitious method of proving a witch. It 
was done by weighing the suspected party 
against the church Bible, which if they 
outweighed, they were innocent ; but, on 
the contrary, if the Bible proved the 
heaviest, they were instantly condemned." 

This mode of discovery was not limited 
to cases of witchcraft. It was also an- 
ciently employed for the detection of 
theft, as appears by two forms in the 
"Durham Ritual:" " Exorcismus Aqusa 
ad Purtum Requirendum," and " Ad Fur- 
tum Requirendum Benedictio Aquse." 
The ordeal consisted in the repetition of 
the first of these forms, and the dipping of 
one of the hands of the suspected thief 
in the water. If the liquid remained un- 
changed, the man's innocence was estab- 
lished ; but if it boiled or effervesced, he 
was held guilty ; and the henedictio fol- 
lowed, to still the water again. The 
same service-book includes the form to be 
used in cases of ordeal by fire, which was 
not unsimilar. It seems to be pretty 
clearly shown, that both were specimens 
of that system of gross imposture, of which 
the Romish Church has, from very early 
times, been the patroness and promoter. 
In Chambers's "Book of Days," an ac- 
count will be found of the methods in 
which the " fiery ordeal," at any rate, 
was managed ; it amounted to little more 
than a juggler's trick. For an account 
of the ancient ordeal by cold water, see 
Dugdale, " Orig. Juridiciales," p. 87. 

In the thirty-second volume of " Ar- 
chjeologia," Mr. William Sidney Gibson 
observes, in reference to this subject: "In 
the Book of Numbers we find the ordi- 



nance applicable to the water of bene- 
diction, which discovered the innocence 
or guilt of wom^n suspected of adultery : 
but he might have added, that in the 
same Book (v. 18) Joseph the master- 
carpenter or builder is subjected to a 
similar ordeal as a test of his commission 
of a certain crime under the Jewish law. 
In the ' Antigone ' of Sophocles, a person 
whom Creon suspects of a misdemeanor 
declares himself ready to handle hot iron 
and to walk over fire, in order to mani- 
fest his innocence The ordeal 

trial prevailed among the Hindoos perhaps 
to a greater extent than in any other 
nation. It existed in France from be- 
fore the time of Charlemagne (who 
approved this mode of investigation) down 
to the eleventh century. Grotius com- 
municates many instances of water ordeal 
in Bithynia, Sardinia, and other coun- 
tries, and it was practised for centuries 
by our Anglo-Saxon ancestors in common 
with other nations of Teutonic origin." 

In the Nibelungenlied (a compilation 
from earlier legendary sources) the mur- 
derer of Siegfried is detected by making 
all those, who might have been guilty of 
the crime, pass in succession the bier on 
which the body of the hero was laid, and 
when the turn of the actual assassin came, 
drops of blood, it is related, trickled from 
the corpse. 

Ork or Ore (Lat. Oreo). — A fabulous 
marine animal, by some identified with 
the narwhal. See Nares' Glossary, 1859, 
in v. 

Orkneys.— In Orkney, formerly, the 
commoner people went round on New 
Year's Eve, and paid each other visits, 
singing this and other verses : 

" This night it is guid New'r E'en's 

night 
We're a' here Queen Mary's men ; 
And we're come here to crave our right. 
And that's before our Lady 1" 

The Orcadians used to consider it un- 
propitious to marry in the wane of the 
moon, or to kill cattle at that time, or to 
turn their boat in opposition to the sun's 
course. In the Statistical Account of 
Scotland, the minister of South Ronald- 
say and Burray, Orkney, says; "No couple 
chuses to marry except with a growing 
moon, and some even wish for a flowing 
tide." They have a charm also whereby 
they try if persons be in a decay or not, 
and if they will die thereof, which they 
call " casting of the heart." Gough says : 
" Funeral ceremonies in Orkney are much 
the same as in Scotland. The corpse is 
laid out after being stretcht on a board 
till it is coffined for burial. I know not 
for what reason they lock up all the cats 
of the house,and cover all the looking 



466 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



glasses as soon as, any person dies ; nor can 
they give any solid reason." Sepulchral 
Monuments, ii, Introd. ccv. It by no 
means seems difficult to assign a reason for 
locking up the cats on the occasion ; it is 
obviously to prevent their making any 
depredations upon the corpse, which it 
is Known they would attempt to do if not 
prevented. 

In a part of the parish of Sandwick, 
Orkney, every family that has a herd or 
swine, kills a sow on the 17th day of 
December, and thence it is called Sow-day. 
There is no tradition as to the origin of 
this practice. These cattle are usually 
bought at a kind of cow fair or mart at 
this time. Mart for market occurs in the 
Laws of David I. of Scotland in the 
Regiam Majestatera, 1609, p. 243. Two 
or more of the poorer sort of rustic fami- 
lies still join to purchase a cow, &c. for 
slaughter at this time, called always in 
Northumberland a mart ; the entrails of 
which, after having been filled with a 
kind of pudding meat, consisting of blood, 
suet, groats, &c. are formed into little 
sausage links, boiled and sent about as 
presents. They are called black-puddings 
from their colour. Butler mentions the 
black pudding in his " Hudibras," speak- 
ing of the religious scruples of some of the 
fanatics of his time. " Several other 
charms also they have, about their mar- 
riage, when their cow is calfing, when 
churning their milk, or when brewing, or 
when their children are sick, by taking 
them to a Smith, (without premonishing 
him,) who hath had a Smith to his father, 
and a Smith to his grandfather. They 
have a charm whereby they stop excessive 
bleeding in any, whatever way they come 
by it, whether by or without external 
violence. The name of the patient being 
sent to the charmer, he saith over some 
words, (which I heard,) upon which the 
blood instantly stoppeth, though the 
bleeding patient were at the greatest dis- 
tance from the charmer. Yea, upon the 
saying of these words, the blood will stop 
in the bleeding throats of oxen and sheep, 
to the astonishment of spectators. Which 
account we had from the ministers of the 
country." Brand's Descr. of Orkney, 
1701, pp. 61-2. 

He says, "When the beasts, as oxen, 
sheep, horses, &c. are sick, they sprinkle 
them with a water made up by them, 
which they call Fore-spoken water ; where- 
with likewise they sprinkle their boats, 
when they succeed and prosper not in 
their fishing. And especially on Hallow 
Even they used to sein or sign their boats, 
and put a cross of tar upon them, which 
my informer hath often seen. Their 
houses also some use then to sein." 

Martin mentions a singular harvest 



superstition : speaking of the Orkneys, he 
says, "There is one day in harvest on 
which the vulgar abstain from work, be- 
cause of an ancient and foolish tradition, 
that if they do their work the ridges will 
bleed." Brand also mentions this in his 
"Description," 1701. Speaking of St. 
Tred well's Loch, he says, "It is held 
by the people as medicinal; where- 
upon many diseased and infirm people 
resort to it, some saying that thereby 
they have got good. Yet I hear 
that when they nave done all that 
is usual for them to do ; as going about 
the Loch, washing their bodies or any 

£art thereof, leaving something at the 
och, as old clouts and the like, &c. it is 
but in few in whom the effect of healing 
is produced. As for this Loch's appearing 
like blood, before any disaster befal the 
Royal Family, as some do report, we could 
find no ground to believe any such thing." 
Descr. of Orkney, 1701, p. 56. He adds : 
" Evil spirits, also called fairies, are fre- 
quently seen in several of the Isles dancing 
and making merry, and sometimes seen 
in armour. Also I had the account of the 
wild sentiments of some of the people 
concerning them ; but with such I shall not 
detain my reader." Ihid., 1701, 63. 

It is to be presumed that so late 
as 1795 the persecution of supposed 
witches was not yet entirely laid aside 
in the Orkneys. The minister of South 
Ronaldsay and Burray reported under 
that date ; ' ' The existence of fairies and 
witches is seriously believed by some, who, 
in order to protect themselves from their 
attacks, draw imaginary circles, and place 
knives in the walls of houses. The worst 
consequence of this superstitious belief is, 
that when a person loses a horse or cow, 
it sometimes happens that a poor woman 
in the neighbourhood is blamed, and 
knocked in some part of the head, above 
the breath, until the blood appears. But 
in these parishes there are many decent, 
honest, and sensible persons who laugh at 
such absurdities, and treat them with de- 
served contempt." St. Ace. xv. 311. In 
the same authority (xvi., 460) we read : 
"Parish of Sandwick, Orkney." "The 
people do no work on the 3rd day of 
March, in commemoration of the day on 
which the Church of Sandwick was con- 
secrated ; and as the Church was dedi- 
cated to St. Peter, they also abstain from 
working for themselves on St. Peter's 
Day (29th of June) ; but they will work 
for another person who employs them." 

In the same work (xviii.^ 652) we are 
told ' ' St. Serf was considered as the 
tutelar saint of this place, in honour of 
whom there was an annual procession on 
his day, viz., 1st July, early in the morn- 
ing of which, all the inhabitants, men and 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



467 



women, yo.ung and old, assembled and 
carried green branches through the town, 
decking the publick places with flowers, 
and spent the rest of the day in festivity. 
(The church was dedicated not only to the 
Virgin Mary, but also to St. Serf.) The 
procession is still continued, though the 
day is changed from the Saint's Day to 
the King's [George III.] Birth Day." 

Orphanasre and Orphanage 
Moneyi — See Extracts from the Bemem- 
brancia, 1878, pp. 292-320. 

Orpine.— In Dodoen's Herball we 
read : " The people of the countrey delight 
much to set orpyne in pots and shelles on 
Midsummer Even, or upon timber, slattes, 
or trenchers^ dawbed with clay, and so to 
set or hang it up in their houses, where as 
it remayneth greene a long season and 
groweth, if it be sometimes oversprinkled 
with water. It floureth most commonly 
in August." The common name for or- 
pine-plants was Midsummer Men. 

Gerarde says of orpine : " This plant is 
very full of life. The stalks set only in 
clay, continue greene a long time, if they 
be now and then watered, they also grow." 
p. 519, edit. 1633. On the 22nd of Janu- 
ary, 1801, a small gold ring, weighing 
eleven pennyweights, seventeen grains and 
a half, was exhibited to the Society of 
Antiquaries by John Topham, Esq. It 
had been found by the Rev. Dr. Bacon, of 
Wakefield, in a ploughed field near Ca- 
wood, in Yorkshire, and had for a device 
two orpine plants joined by a true-love 
knot, with this motto above : " Ma fiance 
velt ;" i.e. my sweatheart wills, or is 
desirous. The stalks of the plant were 
bent to each other, in token that the 
parties represented by them were to come 
together in marriage. The motto under 
the ring was, " Joye 1' amour feu." Prom 
the form of the letters it appeared to have 
been a ring of the fifteenth century. 

Spenser thus mentions orpine : 

" Cool violets, and orpine growing 
still." 

It is alluded to in "The Cottage Girl," 
a poem " written on Midsummer Eve, 
1786." 

The orpine plant occurs among the 
following love divinations on Midsummer 
Eve, preserved in the " Connoisseur," No. 
56 : "I and my two sisters tried the dumb- 
cake together : you must know, two must 
make it, two bake it, two break it, and 
the third put it under each of their pil- 
lows (but you must not speak a word all 
the time,) and then you will dream of the 
man you are to have. This we did : and 
to be sure I did nothing all night but 
dream of Mr. Blossom." "The same night, 
exactly at twelve o'clock, I sowed hemp- 



seed in our back-yard, and said to myself, 

' Hemp-seed I sow, hemp-seed I hoe. 
And he that is my true-love come after 
me and mow.' 

Will you believe me? I looked back, and 
saw him behind me, as plain as eyes could 
see him. After that, I took a clean shift 
and wetted it, and turned it wrong-side 
out, and hung it to the fire upon the back 
of a chair ; and very likely my sweetheart 
would have come and turned it right again 
(for I heard his step) but I was frightened, 
and could not help speaking, which broke 
the charm. I likewise stuck up two Mid- 
summer Men, one for myself and one for 
him. Now, if his hacf died away, we 
should never have come together, but I 
assure you his blowed and turned to mine. 
Our maid Betty tells me, that if I go 
backwards, without speaking a word, into 
the garden upon Midsummer Eve, and 
gather a rose, and keep it in a clean sheet 
of paper, without looking at it till Christ- 
mas Day, it will be as fresh as in June ; 
and if I then stick it in my bosom, he that 
is to be my husband will come and take 
it out." Hannah More's heroine, Sally 
Evans, would never go to bed (this was in 
1800) on Midsummer Eve without having 
some of the Midsummer Men in her room, 
as the bending of the leaves to the right 
or to the left, would never fail to tell her 
whether her lover was true or false. 

psitha's Day, St (Oct. 7). St. 

Ositha, queen and martyr according to 
Nicolas, and merely virgin according to 
the " Book of Days," is referred to the 
latter half of the eighth century. Aubrey, 
who collected his " Remains of Gentilism 
and Judaism" about 1678, observes: "In 
those dayes " (meaning in the earlier 
Christian ages), " when they went to bed, 
they did rake up the fire, and make a ^ 
in the ashes, and pray to God and St. 
Sythe to deliver them from fire and from 
water, and from all misadventure." 

Ossulston. — A stone attributed to 
the Romans, still existing at the north-east 
angle of Hyde Park, when Rocque pub- 
lished his map about 1740. Hence came 
the name of the Hundred, which continues 
to include the whole of London, and to 
extend to Brentford. 

Ostriches— Ross says : — " Dr. 
Browne (i.e. Sir Thomas) denies that 
ostriches eat and digest iron for these 
reasons: (Book iii. c. 22.) Because Aris- 
totle and Oppian are silent in this 
singularity. 2. Pliny speaketh of its 
wonderful digestion. 3. ^lian mentions 
not iron. 4. Leo Africanus speaks dimi- 
nutively. 5. Fernelius extenuates it, and 
Riolanus denies it. 6. Albertus Magnus 
refutes it. 7. Aldrovandus saw an ostrich 



468 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



swallow iron, which excluded it again un- 
digested. 

" Answ. Aristotle's, Oppian's, and 
Julian's silence are of no force ; for argu- 
ments, taken from a negative authority, 
were never held of any validity. Many 
things are omitted by them, which yet are 
true. It is sufficient that we have eye- 
witnesses to confirm the truth. As for 
Pliny, he saith plainly that it concocteth 
whatsoever it eateth. Now the Doctor 
acknowledgeth it eats iron : ergo, accord- 
ing to Pliny, it concocts iron. Africandus 
tells us that it devours iron. And Ferne- 
lius is so far from extenuating the matter, 
that he plainly affirms it, and shews, that 
this concoction is performed by the nature 
of its whole essence. As for Riolanus, his 
denial without ground we regard not. 
Albertus Magnus speaks not of iron, but 
of stones which it swallows, and excludes 
again without nutriment. As for Aldro- 
vandus, I deny not but he might see one 
ostrich, which excluded his iron un- 
digested ; but one swallow makes no 
summer." 

The theory that the ostrich can digest 
iron and stone proves fatal to those few 
specimens, which reach this country, as 
ignorant boys and even adults yet persist 
in throwing halfpence to them. 

Sir Hugh Piatt reminds us that the 
true Aqua vita cannot be made without 
that which the philosophers call the 
Stomack of the Ostrich. He proceeds to 
explain what this mysterious compound, 
known only to the initiated few, is. 
Flora's Paradise, 1608, p. 10. 

Oswald's Eve, St (Aug. 4). St. 

Oswald, King of Northumberland, and 
martyr, is remembered at present chiefly 
by the story of his arm, which is related 
in the "Book of Days." To fast on St. 
Oswald's Eve, the 4th of August, is men- 
tioned in the " Plump ton Correspon- 
dence," under the date of 1499, as a sure 
remedy against the plague. In a letter 
to Sir Robert Plumpton, Robert Leven- 
thorpe says : "I wold advise your master- 
ship, my lady, and all your household 
many (meny or meyny), from henceforth 
to make promyse, and keepe yt, to fast the 
even of St. Oswald, kyng and marter 
yerely ; and that promise truly entended 
to be performed, I trust verely ye shalbe 
no more vexed with that sicknes." 

Warton mentions that an anonymous 
Latin author of the 13th century left be- 
hind him an account of the Life and 
Miracles of St. Oswald. A great house 
of Augustinian or Black Canons was 
settled, before the Dissolution, at Nostel, 
not very far from Wakefield, co. York, and 
was under the patronage of St. Oswald. 
It had a cell at Woodkirk. "St. Os- 
walde," says Aubrey (1678), " was slayne 



by Penda, on the great downe east of 
Marshfield in Gloucestershire, as you ride 
to Castle-Combe, from whence it is called 
St. Oswaldes downe. In these partes, 
nay, as far as Auburne-Chase (and per- 
haps a greate deale further), when they 
pent their sheep in the fold, they did pray 
to God and St. Oswald to bring the sheep 
safe to the fold, and in the morning they 
did pray to God and Saint Oswald to bring 
them safe from the fold. The country- 
folk call St. Oswald St. Twasole." 

His fame on the continent was also ex- 
tensive. We find him the patron saint of 
churches and his name in the legends of 
coins. 

Ouph, Ouphes. — A name for elf, 
elves, in the Merry Wives of Windsor, v, 
Sc. 5, where Anne Page, as the Fairy 
Queen, directs her attendant fairies to 
" strew good luck on every sacred room," 
&c. 

Outlawry. — See Tomlins' Law Dic- 
tionary, 1835, in V. for an elaborate paper 
on this subject. The two main kinds 
were political and civil. 

Outrope. — In a tract by Dekker, A 
Knight's Conjuring j 1607, a spendthrift 
refers to the extortions of his father for 
his sake by defrauding young wiseacres 
of their estates, and paying them partly 
in goods, which, had they been offered a;t 
the drum or at an out-rop, would have 
brought nothing approaching their esti- 
mate price. See Extracts from Bemem- 
brancia, 1878, p. 289 and Note; Halliwell, 
Arch. Diet. v. Outrope. 

Ouvre la Bourse. — See Cards. 

Over-Clover or Warner. — A 
boy's game. See Halliwell in v.v. 

Ovum Angfulnum. — See Druid's 
Egg. 

Owl. — The ancients held owls in the 
utmost abhorrence. Pliny characterizes 
the bird as the " funeral owl and monster 
of the night " ; and Ovid, Lucan, and 
Claudian bestow on him similar epithets. 
According to Virgil, it was an owl which 
foretold the death of Dido. Alexander 
ab Alexandre is emphatic in his condem- 
nation of this inauspicious creature. 
Geniales Dies, v. 13 : Grey's Notes on 
Shakespear, ii, 175. Rome once under- 
went a lustration because one of them 
strayed into the Capitol ; and even Pen- 
nant assures us, that the appearance of 
the eagle owl in cities was regarded 
as ominous of evil. Zoology, i, 202. The 
Romans, however, appear to have viewed 
all owls, and not the screech-owl alone, 
as a bad portent. Molinoeus describes the 
cry of the latter species as ominous, and 
all our English minor authorities adopt 
the same idea, merely copying from each 
other. Ross, " Arcana Microcosmi," 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



469 



Appendix, p. 218; Moresini " Papatus," 
p. 21; Mason's " Anatomie of Sorcerie," 
1612, p. 85; Willsford's "Nature's Se- 
crets," 1658, p. 134; Gaule's " Mag-astro- 
mancers Posed," &c. p. l81. 

Ross informs us that " Lampridius and 
Marcellinus, among other prodigies, which 
presaged the death of Valentinian the 
Emperor, mention an owle which sate 
upon the top of the house where he used 
to bathe, and could not thence be driven 
away with stones. Julius Obsequens (in 
his ' Book of Prodigies,' c. 85), shewes 
that a little before the death of Com- 
modus Antoninus the Emperor, an owle 
was observed to sit upon the top of his 
•chamber, both at Rome and at Lanuvium. 
Xiphilinus, speaking of the prodigies that 
went before the death of Augustus, says, 
that the owl sung upon the top of the 
'Curia. He shews also that the Actian 
war was presignified by the flying of owls 
into the Temple of Concord. 

" Solaque culminibus ferali carmine 

bubo 
Ssepe queri, et longas in fletum ducere 
voces." 
— Virgil, JEneid, lib. iv. 1. 462. 

In Bartholomseus De Proprietatibiis 
Jierum, ed. 1536, fol. 166 v». the author 
•observes touching owls: " Diuynours telle 
that they betokyn euyll : for if the owle 
be seen in a citie, it signifyeth distruccion 
.and waste, as Isidore sayth. The cryenge 
■of the owle by nyght tokeneth deathe, as 
Diuinours coniecte and deme." This 
■omen occurs in the " Assemble of Foules : " 

" The jelous swan ayanst hys deth that 

singeth, 
The oule eke, that of deth the bode 

bringeth." 

Again, in Spenser : 

" The rueful Strich still waytiug on the 

Beere, 
The whistler shril, that whoso heares 

doth die." 

Butler alludes to this ancient sentiment : 

"The Roman Senate, when within 
The city walls an owl was seen, 
Did cause their clergy with lustrations 
(Our Synod calls humiliations,) 
The round fac'd prodigy t' avert 
From doing town and country hurt." 

In "Hamlet," 1603, Ophelia says: 
"Well, God 'ield you ! They say the owl 
was a baker's daughter." Douce was the 
:first to point out that this probably re- 
ferred to the legend that a baker's 
•daughter, who refused to give bi-ead to 
Christ, was transformed by the Saviour 
into an owl. But none of our antiquaries 
^as, I believe, mentioned that in Cornwall 
•4he legend is familiar, and of old date. 



Hazlitt's Proverbs, 1882, p. 394. Again, 
in Julius Cmsar, Shakespear has the 
following passage : 

"And yesterday the bird of night did 

sit 
Even at noon-day upon the market place 
Houting and shrieking." 

Rowlands in his Knave of Spades and 
Diamonds (1613) gives an account of "The 
Country Cunning man:" 

' ' Wise Gosling did but heare the scrich 

owle crie. 
But told his wife, and straight a piggfi 

did die. 
Another time (after that scurvie owle) 
When Ball his dog at twelve a clocke 

did howle ; 
He jogd his wife, and. 111 lucke, Madge, 

did say. 
And fox by morning stole a goose 

away." 

Marston in Antonio and Mellida, 1602, 
says : 

" 'Tis yet dead night, yet all the earth 

is cloucht 
In the dull leaden hand of snoring 

sleep e : 
No breath disturbs the quiet of the aire, 
No spirit moves upon the breast of 

earth, 
Save howling dogs, night crowes, and 

screeching owles. 
Save meager ghosts, Piero, and blacke 

thoughts." 

In " The Gentleman's Verses before he 
killed himselfe," inserted in "Wit Res- 
tored," 1658, the supposed writer says : 

" Methinks the owles 

Prodigious summons strikes me, and she 

houles 
My epicedium, with whose tragick quill 
He pencill in this map my haplesse ill." 

See Poole's " English Parnassus," 1657, 
V. Omens, for several passages from old 
English authors on this subject. The 
"Spectator" affirms that a screech owl 
at midnight has alarmed a family more 
than a band of robbers ; and, as Grose 
tells us, a screech owl flapping its wings 
again.st the windows of a sick person's 
chamber, or screeching at them, portends 
that some one of the family shall shortly 
die. Speaking of the tawny owl. Pen- 
nant observes : " This is what we call the 
screech owl, to which the folly of super- 
stition had given the power of presaging 
death by its cries." Zoology, i, 208. 

In the 18th century, this superstition 
still flourished in undiminished vigour, 
and it cannot be said even now to be by 
any means extinct. In the year 1542, 
at Herbipolis or Wiirzburg in Francouia, 



470 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



this unlucky bird by its screeching songs 
affrighted the citizens a long time to- 
gether, and immediately followed a great 
plague, war, and other calamities. Boss, 
writing in 1652, tells us: "About 
twenty years ago I did observe that in the 
house where I lodged, an owl, groaning in 
the window, presaged the death of two 
eminent persons who died there shortly 
after." 

Oyentiai Oyer, or Oyez.— See 
Cry. 

Pack-and-Penny Day. — The last 
day of the fair, when the goods are packed 
and paid for, is known in the West of 
England as Pack-an-Penny Day. At 
least, it was so in Jennings' time — about 
1825. 

Padfoot. — Not very dissimilar, ap- 
parently, from the barguest or boggart, 
is the pad-foot or supernatural sheep, or 
at leastj animal of a somewhat similar 
description, the existence of which obtains 
credit in the Leeds district. It evidently 
belongs to the same type of superstition, 
and possesses analogous characteristics. 
A fuller account of the pad-foot may be 
found in the " Dialect of Leeds," 1862. 

Pasanalia. — See Christmas Box. 

Pales, Worship of .—See St. John 
the Baptist (Vigil of J. 

Palfrey-Money.— A payment for- 
merly due from the free and customary 
tenants of the manor of Wimbledon on 
each change of the lord, and amounting to 
£6 13s. 4d. It seems from entries in the 
Court Rolls of the manor under George I. 
that time was occasionally given for the 
satisfaction of this claim, which dated 
back at least to 33 Henry VI. 

Pall and Underbearers. — 
Something, instead of the Pall used at 
present to cover the coffin, appears from 
Durandus to have been of great antiquity. 
Sationale, p. 225. The same writer in- 
forms us, in many quotations from the 
ancient Christian writers, that those of 
the highest order of clergy thought it no 
reproach to their dignity in ancient times 
to carry the bier, and that at the funeral 
of Paula bishops were what in modern 
language we call underbearers. How 
different an idea of this office prevails in 
our times ! Durandus seems to say that 
the corpse was originally borne shoulder- 
high. Ibid., p. 227. 

In the Irish H-udibras, 1689, describing 
the burial of an Irish piper, the author 
tells us that the bier, through which the 
wattles were visible, was " overcast with 
a white velvet," probably meaning a 
blanket. 

At the obsequies of Catherine of Arra- 
gon, the divorced wife of King Henry 
Till., four knights bore the canopy, six 



knights supported the pall, and six 
barons or other noblemen were appointed) 
to assist. The paper communicated from 
an original MS. in the Chapter House, 
Westminster_, to the sixteenth volume or 
" Archseologia," contains very explicit 
particulars respecting this ceremony, the 
furniture of the funeral-car, the number 
of mourners, their dress, the etiquette to. 
be observed on the occasion, and other 
interesting details. Walton, speaking of 
Herbert's ordination, tells us : " at which 
time the reverend Dr. Humphrey Hench- 
man, now Lord Bishop of London, tells 
me, he laid his hand on Mr. Herbert's- 
head, and (alas I) witfiin less than three 
years, leant his shoulder to carry his dear- 
friend to his grave." Life of Mr. George 
Herbert, 1670, p. 70. 

Misson says : ' ' The parish has always- 
three or four mortuary cloths of different 
prices (the handsomest is hired out at 
five or six crowns), to furnish those who 
are at the charge of the interment. These 
cloths, which they call palls, are some of 
black velvet, others of cloth with an edge 
of white linen or silk a foot broad or there- 
abouts. For a bachelor or maid, or for 
a woman that dies in childbed, the pall 
is white. This is spread over the coffin^ 
and is so broad that the six or eight men 
in black clothes that carry the body upon' 
their shoulders, are quite hid beneath it 
to their waist ; and the corners and sides 
of it hang down low enough to be borne 
by those (six friends, men or women, ac- 
cording to the occasion) who, according to 
custom, are invited for that purpose „ 
They generally give black or white gloves, 
and black crape hatbands, to those that 
carry the pall ; sometimes also white 
silk scarves." Travels in England (about 
1697), by Ozell, 91. 

Undertakers now provide the palls. 
For men, black silk scarves are sometimes; 
given, sometimes they are of black satin. 
The more particular relatives and friends, 
are usually selected to bear the pall, which 
practically consists in holding the tassels,, 
not, as formerly, in contributing to carry 
the burden. 

Pall Mall, Pell-Mell, or Pale 
Maille. — In Erondel's "French Gar- 
den," 1605, (Edit. 1621, sign. N 5 verso} 
in a dialogue, the lady says, "If one had' 
paille-mails, it were good to play in this 
alley, for it is of a reasonable good length, 
straight, and even." And a note in the 
margin informs us : "A paille-mal is a 
wooden hammer set to the end of a long^ 
stafie to strike a boule with, at which 
game noblemen and gentlemen in France- 
doe play much." Chamberlayne (Anglioe 
Notitia, 1676, p. 25,) spells it pelmel. Ifc 
appears that in 1628 there was a place- 
called Palmail in the neighbourhood of Lai 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



47 J 



Grainge Batelifere at Paris. Fournier, 
Paris Demoli, 1855, p. 240. 

My friend, Mr. H. B. Wheatley, kindly 
drew up for me some part of the 
following description ; and he has since, 
in the third volume of the Anti- 
quary, published a more elaborate paper, 
to which I must refer the reader. Pall Mall 
(Italian, palamaglio; French, palemaille) 
was a popular game in the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries, and few large towns 
were without a mall or prepared ground 
where it could be played. It was intro- 
duced into England in the reign of James 
I. who names it among other exercises 
as suited for his son Henry, who was after- 
wards Prince of Wales. Basilikon Boron, 
lib. 3. 

Unfortunately no rules of the game have 
come down to us, so that we cannot tell 
hQE^jnany players were required, or how 
many strokes were allowed before the ball 
passed successfully under one of the hoops, 
but from old dictionaries and drawings 
we are able to gather the following parti- 
culars : A long alley was prepared for the 
game by being made smooth, and then 
surrounded by a low wooden border, which 
was so marked as to show the position of 
the balls. Each player had a mallet and 
a round box-wood ball, and his object was 
to drive his ball through a high and nar- 
row hoop called "The Pass," of which 
there were two, one at each end of the 
mall. Force and skill were both required 
in the player, who had to make the ball 
skate along the ground with great speed, 
and yet be careful that he did not strike 
it in such a manner as to raise it from 
the ground. 

In the reigns of James I. and 
Charles I., pall-mall was played in 
a portion of St. James's Fields, ad- 
joining the Park, and the site is still 
called Pall Mall. Charles II. was parti- 
cularly fond of the game, and at his Rest- 
oration, as several houses were built and 
others planned in the old Pall-Mall, he 
had one of the avenues in St. James's 
Park prepared for a new Mall. It was one 
man's business to keep the place in per- 
fect order, and as a part of his duty was 
to cover the ground with powdered 
cockle-shells, he was called the cockle- 
strewer. Pepys, in his Diary, May 15, 
1663, reports a conversation with the 
Mall-Keeper, who explained to him how 
the ground was made for the game, but 
added that in dry weather the materials 
became dusty, and impeded the ball. 
Waller, in his poem on St. James's Park, 
thus describes with glowing terms the dex- 
terity of Charles II. in the game : 



" Here a well-polished mall gives us the' 

i°y> 

To see our prince his matchless forces 
imploy. 

No sooner has he touch'd the flying ball, 
But 'tis already more than half the- 

mall: 
And such a fury from his arm has got 
As from a smoaking culverin t'were 

shot." 

Kip, in his large view of St. James's 
Park, 1710, introduces players at this 
sport. Frequenters of Manchester are 
acquainted with a very narrow thorough- 
fare in that city called Pall-Mali after 
the London locality. 

In the eighteenth century the game used 
to be played on the Campo S. Giacomo 
dell' Orio at Venice. Hazlitt's Venetian 
Bepublic, 1900, ii, 793. 

Palming Dice. — One of the methods, 
of cheating with dice. See a good ac- 
count in Nares in v. 

Palmistry. — See Chiromancy. 

Paim Sunday. — This is called Palm , 
Sunday, because on that day the boughs of / 
yew-trees, or of the sallow^ used to bo ! 
carried in procession, in imitation of the ' 
palm-boughs which the Jews strewed in ! 
the way of Christ when he went up to \ 
Jerusalem. In "Fuller's Church His- 
tory," p. 225, we read that " bearing 
of palms on Palm Sunday is in memory 
of the receiving of Christ into Hierusalem 
a little before his death, and that we may 
have the same desire to receive hira into 
our hearts." 

The palm-tree was common in Judea, 
and planted, no doubt, every where by the 
way-sides. Sprigs of other trees are still 
used as a substitute for palms in Roman 
Catholic countries. The Consecration 
Prayer seems to leave a latitude for the 
species of palm used instead of the real 
palm. In the " Gentleman's Magazine " 
for March, 1780, appears the ensuing ex- 
tract from the English " Golden Legend," 
first printed in 1483: "but for encheson 
that we hauo non Olyue that berith grene- 
leef, algate therfore we take ewe instedo 
of palme and olyue, and beren about in 
processyon." Another writer in that 
Magazine for July, 1783, remarking on the 
same usage, inquires, " May we refer the 
branches (as well as the palms on Palm 
Sunday) to this, ' And they cut down 
branches and strewed them in the way'?"' 

In " Dives and Pauper," 1493, cap. iv. 
on the first commandment, we read : " On 
Palme Sondaye at procession the priest 
drawith up the veyle before the rode, and 
falleth down to the ground with all the 
people, and saith thrice, Ave Rex Noster, 
Hayle be thou our King. — He speketh not 



472 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



to the image that the carpenter hath 
made, and the painter painted, but if the 
priest be a fole, for that stock or stone 
was never king ; but he speakethe to hym 
!that died on tlie crosse for us allj to him 
that is Kynge of all thynge." 
' " The Festyvall," 1511, fol. 28, speaking 
of the Jews strewing palm-branches before 
Christ, says : "And thus we take palme 
iind floures in the processyon as they dyde, 
and go in processyon knelynge to the 
■crosse in the worshyp and mynde of hym 
that was done on the crosse, worshyppynge 
and welcomynge hym with songe into the 
Kjhyrche, as the people dyde our Lord into 
the cyte of Jnerusalem. It is called 
Palme Sondaye for bycause the palme 
betokeneth vyctory, wherfore all Crysten 
people sholde bere palme in processyon, 
in tokennynge that he hath foughten w*"" 
the fende our enemye, and hath the vyc- 
tory of hym." 

In the "Durham Ritual," the expression 
is: " hos palmarum cseterarumque frou- 
<lium ramos." In the Sarum Missal, 1555, 
■the forms of consecration of sprigs of 
flowers are also given. 

Stow, in his "Survey," tells us, "that 
in the week before Easter, had ye great 
•shewes made for the fetching in of a 
ttwisted tree or with, as they termed it, out 
.of the wood into the King's house, and the 
like into every man's house of honour or 
-worship." This must also have been a 
■substitute for the palm. Coles, in his 
'' Adam in Eden," says : " The (willow) 
Wossoms come forth before any leaves ap- 
pear, and are in their most flourishing 
■estate usually before Easter, divers 
gathering them to deck up their houses on 
Palm Sunday, and therefore the said 
flowers are called palme." It is still cus- 
-tomary with our boys, both in the South 
and North of England, to go out and 
.gather slips with the willow-flowers or buds 
at this time. These seem to have been 
.selected as substitutes for the real palm, 
because they are the only things, at this 
•season, which can be easily come at, in 
which the power of vegetation can be dis- 
■eovered. 

In the " Statistical Account of Scot- 
land," vol. XV. p. 45, Parish of Lanark, 
we read of "a gala kept by the boys of the 
'Orammar-school, beyond all memory, in 
regard to date, on the Saturday before 
Palm Sunday. They then parade the 
■streets with a palm, or its substitute, a 
large tree of the willow kind, Salix caprea, 
in blossom, ornamented with daffodils, 
raezereon, and box-tree. This day is 
called Palm Saturday ; and the custom is 
certainly a Popish relic of very ancient 
standing." 

In Wales (and doubtless elsewhere) they 
■commonly employ on this festival, in lieu 



of palm, what is popularly called goose 
and goslings. It flowers early, especially 
in mild seasons. But doubtless the palm, 
or palm-twig, which we see in the list of 
plants in our early vocabularies, is the 
sallow. 

It is even yet a common practice in the 
neighbourhood of London. The young 
people go a palming; and the sallow is 
Bold in London streets for the whole week 
preceding Palm Sunday. In the North, 
it is called "going a palmsoning or 
palmsning." 

Newton, in his " Herball for the Bible," 
1587, p. 206, after mentioning that the 
box-tree and the palm were often con- 
founded together, adds : " This error grew 
(as I thinke) at the first for that the 
common people in some countries use to 
decke their church with the boughes and 
branches thereof on the Sunday next afore 
Easter, commonly called Palme Sunday ; 
for at that time of the yeare all other 
trees, for the most part, are not blowen 
or bloomed." 

In Germany, according to Naogeorgus, 
in his " Popish Kingdome," they were 
accustomed to substitute willow for palm 
and olive. In MS. Sloane, 2478, of the 
fourteenth century, are some lines on 
Palm Sunday. 

" Nou jee that bereth to day jour palme, 
Wei autje Je queme luch a qualm, 

to Ctift 3our herte al Jyve ; 
As dude the chyldren of tholde lawe, 
3yf je hym lovede, Je fcholde wel vawe 

boe by tyme Ichryve. 

Lewede, that bereth palm an honde, 
That nuteth what palm ys tondei ftonde, 

anon ichulle 5ou telle ; 
Hit is a tokne that alle and fome 
That buth y-(chryve, habbeth overcome 

alle the develes of helle. 

5yf eny habbeth braunches y-bro5t, 
And buth un-lchryve, har boft uys no5t 

ajce the fend to fyjte ; 
Ily maketh ham holy as y were, 
Vort hy boe fchryve hy ichulleth boe ikere 

of loem of hevene lyjte." 

The Church of Rome has given the fol- 
lowing account of her ceremonies on this 
day : " The blessed Sacrament reverently 
carried, as if it were Christ, upon the ass, 
with strawing of bushes and flowers, 
bearing of palms, setting out boughs, 
spreading and hanging up the richest 
clothes, &c. all done in a very goodly 
ceremony to the honour of Christ, and the 
memory of his triumph upon this day." 
In the " Doctrine of the Masse Booke," 
1554, we have: "When the Gospel is 
ended, let ther follow the halowyng of 
flouers and braunches by the priest, being 
araied with a redde cope, upon the thyrde 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



473 



step of the altere, turning him toward the 
South : the palmes, with the floures, being 
first laied aside upon the altere for the 
<!lerkes, and for the other upon the steppe 
of the altere on the south syde." Prayers : 
"I conjure the, thou creaturie of flouers 
and braunches, in the name of God the 
Father Almighty, and in the name of Jesu 
•Christ hys Sonne our Lord, and in the 
vertue of the Holy Gost. Therefore be 
thou rooted out and displaced from this 
■creature of flouers and braunches, al thou 
strength of the adversary, al thou host of 
the Divell, and al thou power of the 
•enemy, even every assault of Divels, that 
thou overtake not the foote steps of them 
that haste unto the grace of God. Thorow 
him that shal come to judge the quicke 
and the deade and the world by fyre. 
Amen." 

" Almightye eternal God, who at the 
pouring out of the floude diddest declare 
to thy servaunt Noe by the mouthe of a 
■dove, bearing an olive-braunch, that 
peace was restored agayne upon earth, 
we humblye beseche the that thy truthe 
may »|« sanctifie this creature of flouers 
■and branches, and slips of palmes, or bowes 
of trees, which we offer before the presence 
of thy glory ; that the devoute people 
bearing them in their handes, may meryte 
to optayne the grace of thy benediccion. 
Thorowe Christe," &c. 

There follow other prayers, in which 
occur these passages : After the flowers 
■and branches are sprinkled with holy 
water — " Blesse >i< and sanctifie ^ these 
braunches of palmes, and other trees and 
flouers" — concluding with this rubrick : 
"So whan these thinges are finished, let 
the palmes immediately be distributed." 

Fulke and others, on the part of the 
Protestants, and others have considered 
all this in a different light from the 
Ehemists. " Your Palm-Sunday Pro- 
•eession," says Fulke, "was horrible ido- 
latry, and abusing the Lord's Institution, 
who ordained his Supper to be eaten and 
■drunken, not to be carried about in pro- 
eession like a heathenish idol : but it is 
pretty sport that you make the priests 
that carry this idol to supply the room of 
the ass on which Christ did ride. Thus 
you turn the holy mystery of Christ's 
riding to Jerusalem to a May-game and 
pagent-play." 

In "A Dialogue, or familiar Talke, be- 
twene two neighbours, concernyng the 
chyefest ceremonyes that were, by the 
mighti power of gods most holie pure 
■worde suppressed in Englande, and nowe 
for our un worth] nes set up agayne by the 
bishoppes, the Impes of Antichrist, &c. 
1554," it appears that crosses of palme 
were, in the papal times, carried about in 
the purse, and placed upon doors. These 



crosses were' made on Palme Sunday, in 
Passioii time, of hallowed palm. See sig- 
nat. D. iii.-iv. " But tell me, Nicholas, 
hath not thy wyfe a crosse of palme about© 
her? Nich. Yes, in her purse." 

In " A short Description of Antichrist," 
&c. is the following: "They also, upon 
Palmes Sonday, lifte up a cloth, and say, 
hayle our kynge I to a rood made of a 
wooden blocke," fol. 26. At fol. 8 is noted 
the popish "hallowinge of Palme Stickes." 
" Upon Palme Sondaye they play the foles 
sadely, drawynge after them an asse in a 
rope, when they be not moche distante 
from the woden asse that they drawe." 
Pylegremage of pure Devotyon, newly 
translatyd into Englishe, 1551. 

The ceremony of bearing palms on Palm 
Sunday was retained in Jingland after 
some others had dropped, and was one of 
those which Henry VIII. in 1536 declared 
were not to be contemned and cast away. 
In an original Proclamation^ printed and 
dated 26th February 30 Henry VIII. 
occurs the followng clause : " On Palme 
Sonday it shall be declared that bearing 
of palmes renueth the memorie of the 
receivinge of Christe in lyke manor into 
Jerusalem before his deathe." A similar 
interpretation of this ceremony to that 
given in the above occurs in Bishop Bon- 
ner's " Injunctions," 1555, signat. A 2. 
"To cary their palmes discreatlye," is 
among the Roman Catholic customs cen- 
sured by Bale in his " Declaration of 
Bonners Articles," 1554, signat. D, and 
(D 2 verso) "to conjure palmes." 
Jeremy Collier mentions that the practice 
continued in 2 Edward VI. But in 
" Articles to be enquired of within the 
Archdeaconry of Yorke, by the churche 
wardens and sworne men, a.d. 163 — -" 
{any year till 1640), I find the follow- 
ing, alluding, it should seem, both 
to this day and Holy Thursday. — 
" Whether there be any superstitious 
use of crosses with towels, palmes, 
metwands, or other memories of idol- 
aters." "I once knew a foolish, cock- 
brained priest," says Newton, in his 
"Herbal for the Bible," p. 207, "which 
ministered to a certaine yoong man the 
ashes of boxe, being (forsooth) hallowed 
on Palme Sunday, according to the super- 
stitious order and doctrine of the Romish 
Church, which ashes he mingled with their 
unholie holie water, using to the same a 
kinde of fantastical!, or rather fanaticall, 
doltish, and ridiculous exorcisme ; which 
woorthy, worshipful medicine (as he per- 
suaded the standers by) had vertue to 
drive away any ague, and to kill the 
worms. Well, it so fell out, that the ague, 
indeed, was driven away ; but, God 
knoweth, with the death of the poore 
yoong man. And no marvell. For the 



474 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



leaves of boxe be deleterious, poisonous, 
deadlie, and to the bodie of man very 
noisome, dangerous, and pestilent." 

It may be worth mentioning that the 
Field of Towton, near Tadcaster, where 
the last battle was fought between the 
two Boses in 1461, is sometimes known 
as "Palm-Sunday Field." 

In an anonymous contemporary narra- 
tive of the Kestoration of King Edward 
IV._ in 1471, printed for the Camden 
Society in 1838, there is an account, 
rather too long to transcribe, of a happy 
portent which befell ithe King at Da- 
ventry, on Palm Sunday, while the royal 
party was attending Divine service in the 
parish church. It appears that Edward, 
during his misfortunes had vowed, the first 
time that he beheld, on his return to his 
kingdom, an image of St. Anne, to pay 
his devotions to it, and make an oblation. 
There chanced to be a small alabaster 
figure of the Saint just above the spot 
where the monarch himself was kneeling, 
attached to a pillar, and it was enclosed 
and hidden from view in a wooden case, 
according to the usual practice, which 
was that the image should not be visible 
from Ash-Wednesday to the morning of 
Easter-Sunday. But on the present oc- 
casion, the case enshrining the figure of 
St. Anne miraculously opened of its own 
accord, and then closed again spon- 
taneously, and then once more opened, 
and remained so, in the sight of the whole 
congregation. This was pronounced to be 
an omen of good fortune in store for King 
Edward, and his majesty, before leaving 
the church, gave a handsome donation 
to God and our holy lady St. Anne. In 
the presence of the King at this place in 
1471, one seems to perceive a possibility 
of fixing the date of the ballad celebrating 
his adventure with the Barker or Tanner 
of Tamworth. 

In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. 
Mary at Hill in the city of London, from 
the 17th to the 19th year of King Edw. 
IV., I find the following entry: "Box 
and palm on Palm Sunday, 12d." And, 
ibid, among the annual church disburse- 
ments, the subsequent : " Palm, box, 
cakes, and flowers, Palm Sunday Eve, 
8d." Ibid. 1486 : " Item, for flowrs, oble- 
yes, and for box and palme ayenst Palm 
Sondaye, 6d." Ibid. 1493: " For settyng 
up the frame over the porch on Palme 
Sonday Eve, 6d." Ibid. 1531 : " Paid for 
the hire of the rayment for the prophets, 
12d., and of clothes of aras. Is. 4d. for 
Palm Sunday." In Coates's " History of 
Reading," p. 216, Churchwardens' Ac- 
counts of St. Laurence Parish, 1505 : " It. 
payed to the Clerk for syngyng of the 
passion on Palme Sunday, in ale. Id." 
P. 217. 1509. "It. payed for a q'rt of 



bastard, for the singers of the pashyon on 
Palme Sondaye, iiijd." P. 221. 1541. 
"Payd to Loreman for playing the p'phett 
(prophet) on Palme Sonday, iiijd." 

In Lysons' " Environs," among his ex- 
tracts from the Churchwardens' and 
Chamberlains' Accounts of Kingston upon 
Thames, occurs the following: "1. Hen. 
VIII. For ale upon Palm Sonday on 
syngyng of the passion £0. Os. Id." In 
Churchwardens' Acoompts, of St. Martin 
Outwich, London, occurs under 1510-11 : 
" First, paid for palme, box-floures, and 
cakes, iiij">." Under 1525: "Paid for 
palme on Palme Sunday, ij*." " Paid 
for kaks, flowers and yow, ij*." 

Among Dr. Griffith's " Extracts from 
the old Books of St. Andrew Hubbard's 
parish," Brand found: 1524-5. "To 
James Walker, for making clone the 
churchyard ag'st Palm Sonday, Id." Ibid. 
"On Palm Sonday, for palm, cakes, and 
flowrs, 6d. ob." 1526-7T "The here of 
the angel on Palme Sonday, 8d." 
" Clothes at the Tow'r on Palme Sonday, 
6d." 1535-7. " For brede, wyn and oyle^ 
on Palm Sonday, 6d. " A preest and 
chylde that playde a messenger, 8d." 
1538-40. "Rec'd in the Church of the 
Players, Is." " P'd for syngyng bread, 
2d." " For the aungel, 4d." 

There is a strange allusion to the ob- 
servances of Palm Sunday in the " De- 
maundes Joyous," 1511: " Demaunde. 
What daye in the yere ben the flyes moost 
aferde? Beply. That is on Palme Son- 
day, whan they se euery body haue an 
handeful of palme in tlieyr hande, they 
wene it is to Kyll theyra with." 

At Caistor Church, in Lincolnshire, a 
deputy from Broughton comes on Palm 
Sunday morning, and places himself in the 
north porch, at or about the commence- 
ment of the first lesson for the day. He 
has in his hand a gad -whip, which he 
cracks thrice in front of the porch en- 
trance (as it is alleged, in remembrance 
of Peter's denial of Jesus) ; he then wraps 
the thong round the stock, places some 
rods of mountain-ash length-wise upon it, 
and binds the whole with a bit of whip- 
cord. Next he attaches to the whip-stock 
a purse containing two shillings ; and, this 
done^ he walks in and stands before the 
reading desk till the second lesson com- 
mences ; he then approaches still nearer, 
till he can wave the purse over the 
minister's head ; when he has completed 
this part of the ceremony, he kneels down 
on a cushion put for him, and holds 
the purse over the clergyman till the lesson 
is finished. After the conclusion of the 
service he takes the whip and purse to 
the adjacent hamlet of Undon, and leaves 
it at the manor-house. The whip is re- 
newed yearly, and by this jocular tenure 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



475 



certain property in Broughton parish is 
held." The gad-whip is a Lincolnshire 
measure of ten feet. The whip is made of 
mountain-ash, or any other wood, and is 
wrapt round, half-way down, with white 
leather ; the thong, which is very large, 
is also of white leather. Originally in 
lieu of the shillings, thirty pennies were 
usual, as to the significance of which see 
Hazhtt's Blount, 1874, p. 45. 

The country folk meet every Palm 
Sunday on Silbury Hill, Wiltshire, an 
artificial mound covering an area of more 
than five acres, and celebrat* the an- 
niversary with cakes, figs, sugar, and 
water fetched from the Kennet. Fos- 
brooke's Encyclopcedia, 1843, p. 551. 

"Upon Palm Sunday," says Carew, in 
his survey of Cornwall," p. 144, " at our 
Lady Nant's Well, at Little Colan, idle- 
headed seekers resorted, with a palm 
crosse in one hand and a offering in the 
other. The offering fell to the priest's 
«hare, the cross they threw into the well, 
which, if it swamme, the party should 
outlive that yeare ; if it sunk, a short 
ensuing death was boded, and, perhaps, 
not altogether untruly, while a foolish 
oonceyt of this halsenyng might the sooner 
help it onwards." A correspondent of 
"Notes and Queries" observes that "the 
farmers and labourers of this immediate 
neighbourhood (Winchester) have a com- 
mon idea that, from whatever quarter 
the wind blows for the most part on Palm 
Sunday, it will continue to blow from the 
same quarter for the most part during 
the ensuing summer." In Gloucester- 
shire there is a curious notion that if 
flowers are sown on Palm Sunday the 
seeds will become double. The Winter 
portion of many of the Romish service- 
book ends with Palm Sunday. 

There was a, superstition in Germany, 
according to Naogeorgus, that boughs 
of the palm (as they were called) 
possessed the property of protecting the 
holders against storms and thunder. The 
Bussians (of the Greek Church) have a 
very solemn procession on Palm Sunday. 

Pancake-Bell.— This is rung on the 
morning of Shrove Tuesday, as a rule, 
in many parts (Newcastle-on-Tyne, York, 
Wrexham, &c.) to give notice, that it is 
time to get the frying pans ready. The 
sexton generally expects a small fee for his 
■trouble. At York, according to a tract 
quoted by Brand, the apprentices, &c. 
exercised the privilege of going into the 
•Cathedral at noon on Shrove Tuesday, 
and ringing the pancake bell. Dr. Lake, 
Bishop of Chichester, when he was trans- 
lated to York, endeavoured to put a stop 
to the practice, and the attempt nearly 
cost him his life. " A Vindication of the 
letter out of the North, concerning Bishop 



Lake's Declaration of his dying in the 
belief of the Doctrine of Passive Obe- 
dience, &c." 

Pancakes. — Fosbrooke, in his "Bri- 
tish Monarchism," ii. 127, mentions that 
pancakes or crum-cakes, as they were 
called, were eaten at Barking Nunnery 
before the dissolution, and no doubt the 
custom was universal. It was usual to 
have them after cock-threshing on Shrove- 
Tuesday. Selden, with his usual acute- 
ness, saw in the practice of eating of 
fritters, a vestige of "church works." 

Shakespear, in "All's Well that ends 
Well," alludes to this well-known custom. 
It appears from Rowley and Middleton's 
"World tossed at Tennis," 1620, that 
batter was used on Shrove-Tuesday at 
that time, no doubt for the purpose of 
making pancakes. In Gayton's " Festi- 
vous Notes upon Don Quixote," p. 99, 
speaking of Sancho Panza's having con- 
verted a cassock into a wallet, he observes : 
" It were serviceable after this greasie 
use for nothing but to preach at a carni- 
vale on Shrove-Tuesday, and to tosse 
pancakes in after the exercise." Poor 
Robin, in his " Almanack for 1677," in 
his observation on February, says, there 
will be " a full sea of pancakes and frit- 
ters about the 26th and 27th days," i.e. 
Shrove-Tuesday fell on the 27th — with 
these lines : 

"Pancakes are eat by greedy gut. 
And Hob and Madge run for the slut." 

In Goldsmith's day, eating pancakes 
was commonly practis^ among the coun- 
try people, as he incidentally mentions (if 
any authority were wanted for such a 
thing) in his "Vicar of Wakefield." 

A learned foreigner thought that our 
taste for cock-throwing must proceed from 
temporary insanity, the result of eating 
pancakes. — Note to " Veille a la Cam- 
pagne, or the Simnel, a Tale," 1745, 
p. 16. The custom of frying pancakes 
(in turning of which in the pan there is 
usually a good deal of pleasantry in the 
kitchen), is still retained in many families 
of the better sort throughout the kingdom. 

Brand notes: "She that is noted for 
lying a-bed long, or any other miscarriage, 
hath the first pancake presented to her 
at Shrovetide or after cock-threshing, 
which most commonly falls to the dog s 
share at last, for no one will own it their 
due." This latter part of the note is to 
illustrate the following lines : 

" Maids, fritters and pancakes ynow 

see ye make, 
Let slut have one pancake for company 

sake." 

"Tossing the pancake" is a custom 
too ancient and too popular at Westmin- 



476 



NATIONAL- FAITHS 



ster School to be forgotten on Shrove Tues- 
day, and the traditions of the institution 
were accordingly duly observed. Shortly 
after twelve o'clock a small procession, 
headed by one of the Abbey vergers 
carrying a silver wand, and in which the 
cook, arrayed in white, holding in his 
right hand a large frying-pan containing 
a newly made pancake, was a prominent 
figure, left the kitchen and advanced to 
the door of the great school. Knocking 
thrice, according to time-honoured cus- 
tom, the inquiry was made, " Who 
demands admittance," when the reply was 
given, " The cook." The bar which se- 

Earates the upper from the lower school 
ad in the mean time been drawn out, and 
all the boys were congregated behind the 
barrier. On admission the cook and his 
attendants advanced midway up the hall, 
and the former, whirling the frying-pan 
three times round his head, dexterously 
hurled the pancake amid the crowd of 
expectant youngsters, who scrambled for 
its possession. Master Guy Simonds, son 
of Captain Simonds, chief officer of the 
Metropolitan Fire Brigade, had the good 
fortune to secure the largest piece, and 
immediately ran off to the Deanery to 
tlaim the usual reward of a guinea. The 
cook became entitled to a similar sum. 
Daily Telegraph, 27 Feb. 1895. 

From "The Westmorland Dialect," by 
A. Walker, 8vo. 1790, it appears that 
cock-fighting and casting pancakes are 
still practiced on Shrove-Tuesday in that 
country. Thus p. 31 : " Whaar ther wor 
tae be cock-feightin, for it war Pankeak- 
Tuesday." And p. 35 : " We met sum 
lads an lasses gangin to kest their pan- 
keaks." A correspondent of " Notes and 
Queries," writing from Hedon (PHeden in 
Kent), observes: "All the apprentices in 
the town, whose indentures terminate be- 
fore the return of the day, assemble in 
the belfry of the church, at eleven o'clock, 
and in turn toll the tenor bell for an 
hour ; at the sound of which all the house- 
wives in the parish commence frying pan- 
cakes. The sexton, who is present, 
receives a small fee from each lad." 2nd 
Series, v, 391. 

A kind of Pancake Feast, preceding 
Lent, was used in the Greek Church, 
whence we may probably have borrowed 
it with Pasche Eggs and other such like 
ceremonies. "The Russes," as Hakluyt 
tells us, " begin their Lent always eight 
weeks before Easter ; the first week they 
eat eggs, milk, cheese, and butter, and 
make great cheer with pancakes and such 
other things." 

Parg-ettor — The artificer of de- 
corated plaister-work. See Fairholt's 
Dictionary of Terms in Art, p. 329, and 
Hazlitt's Livery Companies, 1892, p. 590. 



Parish Top. — A top bought for pub- 
lic exercise in a parish. See Nares in v. 
Otherwise known as a town-top, under 
which name it occurs in old plays. 

Parkers of Browsholms. — Thi» 
family formerly enjoyed the distinction 
of being hereditary bowbearers of Bowland 
Forest under the Dukes of Buccleugh, and 
possessed a valuable library long since- 
dispersed. See Hazlitt's Shakespear: 
Himself and his Work, 2nd ed. 1903, p. 
171. In the old ballad poem of Adam 
Bel, 1536, William of Cloudesby, on being; 
pardoned, is made bowbearer to the 
King: — 

" I gyue the xviii. pens a daye. 
And my bowe shalt thou here. 
And ouer all the north countree 
I make the chefe rydere." 

Parochial Perambulations — 

Bourne cites Spelman as deriving this 
custom from the times of the heathens, 
and that it is an imitation of the feast 
called Terminalia, which was dedicated to 
the God Terminus, whom they considered 
as the guardian of fields and landmarks, 
and the keeper-up of friendship and peace 
among men. The primitive custom used 
by Christians on this occasion was, for the 
people to accompany the bishop or some 
of the clergy into the fields, where litanies 
v.ere made, and the mercy of God im- 
plored, that he would avert the evils of 
plague and pestilence, that he would send 
them good and seasonable weather, and 
give them in due season the fruits of the 
earth. 

The word Parochia or Parish anciently 
signified what we now call the Diocese of 
a bishop. In the early ages of the 
Christian Church, as kings founded cathe- 
drals, so great men founded parochial 
churches for the conversion of themselves 
and their dependants : the bounds of the 
parochial division being commonly the 
same with those of the founder's juris- 
diction. Some foundations of this kind 
were as early as the time of Justinian 
the Emperor. Before the reign of Edward 
the Confessor, the parochial divisions in 
this kingdom were so far advanced, that 
every person might be traced to the parish 
to which he belonged. This appears by 
the canons published in the time of Edgar 
and Canute. The distinction of the 
parishes as they now stand appears to have 
been settled before the Norman Conquest. 
In " Domesday Book " the parishes agree 
very near to the modern division. Cam- 
den tells us that this kingdom was first 
divided into parishes by Honorius, Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, a.d. 636, and counts 
two thousand nine hundred and eighty- 
four parishes. The Lateran Council made 
some such division as this. It compelled 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



477 



every man to pay tithes to his parish- 
priest. Men before that time payed them 
to whom they pleased ; but, without being 
sarcastical, one might observe, that since 
then it has happened that few, if they 
could be excused from doing it, would 
care to pay them at all. 

In the Injunctions made in the reign 
of Queen Elizabeth, it is ordered "that 
the curate, at certain and convenient 
places, shall admonish the people to give 
thanks to God, in the beholding of God's 
benefits, for the increase and abundance 
of his fruits, saying the 103rd Psalm, &c. 
At which time the minister shall inculcate 
these, or such sentences, — ' Cursed be he 
which translateth the bounds and doles of 
his neighbours,' or such orders of prayers 
as shall be hereafter." 

In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. 
Margaret's Westminster, under various 
years, are several entries of moneys paid 
on account of spiced bread, wine, ale, 
beer, fish, &c. for the Ascension Eve 
ceremony, including the Perambulation. 
The following is curious : 

" 1556. 
"Item, paid for bread, wine, ale, and beer, 
upon the Ascension-Kven and Day, against 
my Lord Abbott and his Covent cam in 
procession, and for strewing herbs the 
samme day, 7s. Id." Lysons, in his " En- 
virons," has quoted other entries from the 
Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Mary at 
Hill, London, under 1682 : 

£ s.d. 
"For fruit on Perambulation Day 10 
For points for two yeres . . . 2 10 0" 

The following extracts are from the 
Churchwardens' Books of Chelsea : 
"1670. Spent at the Perambu- 
lation Dinner . ... . . . 3 10 

Given to the boys that were 

whipt 4 

Paid for poynts for the boys . 2 0" 
The whipping or bumping of the boys was 
a general custom, not always limited to 
them, in order, as it was said, to impress 
the confines on the memory. 

In many manors a party, who are more 
usually on horseback than a-foot, proceed 
annually round the property, beating the 
bounds ; the crosses or other marks in- 
dicative of the limits of the estate, are, 
where it has become necessary, unturfed 
or unearthed for the occasion ; and at each 
halting point, one of the visitants is 
bumped smartly against the boundary- 
stone, or placed head downwards against 
it, or made to undergo any penalty of the 
kind, which occurs at the moment, under 
the facetious pretext of impressing the 
exact position on his mind. The man who 
is most nimble, or has the best horse, 



stands the best chance of escape ; but as at 
rule everybody gets his share. A gentle- 
man well remembered returning black and 
blue from such an expedition ; in his case 
two or three sharp strokes with a riding: 
whip across the shoulders had been ad- 
ministered to guard against forgetfulness. 
On the same occasion the clergyman of 
the parish, whose brother was afterwards 
a bishop, was taken off his horse, and 
literally laid upright on his hat ; but no 
other violence was offered, out of respect 
to his cloth. 

Heath, in his " History of the Soilly 
Islands," tells us : " At Exeter, in Devon, 
the boys have an annual custom of 
damming-up the channel in the streets, 
at going the bounds of the several parishes 
in the city, and of splashing the water 
upon people passing by." "Neighbours 
as well as strangers are forced to com- 
pound hostilities, by giving the boys of 
each parish money to pass without duck- 
ing : each parish asserting its prerogative 
in this respect." Wither writes: — 

"That ev'ry man might keep his owne 
possessions, 

Our fathers us'd, in reverent pro- 
cessions, 

With zealous prayers, and with praise- 
full cheere. 

To walke their parish-limits once a 
yeare ; 

And well knowne markes (which sac- 
rilegious hands 

Now cut or breake) so bord'red out their 
lands. 

That ev'ry one distinctly knew his owne ; 

And many brawles, now rife, were then 
unknowne." 
Emblems, 1635, p. 161. 

In Michael Wodde's "Dialogue," 1554, 
signat. D 8, we read : " What say ye to 
procession in Gang-daies, when Sir John 
saith a Gospel to our corne fieldes. 
Oliver. As for your Latine Gospels read 
to the corne, I am sure the corne under- 
standeth as much as you, and therefore 
hath as much profit by them as ye have, 
that is to sai, none at al." What is re- 
lated on this head in the life of Richard 
Hooker, is extremely interesting: "He 
would by no means omit the customary 
time of procession, persuading all, both 
rich and poor, if they desired the pre- 
servation of love and their parish rights 
and liberties, to accompany him in his 
perambulation : and most did so : in which 
perambulation he would usually express 
more pleasant discourse than at other 
times, and would then always drop some 
loving and facetious observations, to be 
remembered against the next year, es- 
pecially by the boys and young people: 
still inclining them, and all his present 



478 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



parishioners, to meekness, and mutual 
Kindnesses and love; because love thinks 
not evil, but covers a multitude of in- 
iirmities." In Herbert's " Country 
Parson," 1652, p. 157, we are told : "The 
-countrey parson is a lover of old customs, 
if they be good and harmlesse. Particu- 
larly he loves procession, and maintains 
it, because there are contained therein 
iour manifest advantages. First, a 
'blessing of God for the fruits of the field. 
2. Justice in the preservation of the 
bounds. 3. Charitie in loving, walking, 
>and neighbourly accompanying one an- 
other, with reconciling of differences at 
that time, if there be any. 4. Mercie, in 
relieving the poor by a liberal distribution 
and largess, which at that time is or ought 
to be used. Wherefore he exacts of all to 
be present at the perambulation, and those 
that withdraw and sever themselves from 
it he mislikes, and reproves as unchari- 
iiable and un-neighbourly ; and, if they 
will not reforme, presents them." 

Aubrey, in his " Remaines of Gentilisme 
and Judaisme," says: "In Cheshire, in 
Mr. N. Kent's grandmother's time, when 
they went in perambulation, they did 
•blesse the springs, i.e. they did read a 
Ghospell at them, and did believe the 
water was the better :" to this account in 
the MS. is added in pencil : "On Rogation 
^ays the Gospells were read in the corn- 
fields here in England untill the Civill 
Warrs." In the parish of St. James, 
Westminster, at a vestry held in 1687, the 
•expenoes of the Perambulation of Bound- 
aries were limited to £10, and comprised 
bread, cheese, beer, and farthings and 
points for the boys. 

On Lord Derby's Westmoreland estate 
the ancient custom — observed only once in 
a century — of walking the boundary took 
•place in 1902. Halts were made along the 
16 miles of route, and sports held, con- 
sisting of wrestling, tugs-of-war, &c., and 
at various points a barrel of ale and bread 
and cheese was provided. At the close the 
party, numbering several hundreds, ad- 
journed to the hall, where a bullock had 
been roasted whole, and there were more 
sports. 

At Oxford, at this time, the little 
crosses out in the stones of buildings, to 
denote the division of the parishes, are 
whitened with chalk. Great numbers of 
boys, with peeled willow rods in their 
hands, accompany the minister in the 
procession. See Gospel Oak and Wolver- 
hampton. 

Googe in his version of " Naogeorgus," 
1570, says : 

" Now comes the day wherein they gad 
abrode, with crosse in their hande. 

To boundes of every field, and round 
about their neighbours lande." 



And he insinuates that they sometimes ate 
and drunk so plentifully that they forgot 
the great business of the day, and left 
the cross behind them. 

Parsley. — Coles tells us that " Pars- 
ley was bestowed upon those that overcame 
in the Grecian games, in token of vic- 
tory." So also Bartholomeus, " De 
proprietatibus Rerum," lib. xvii. fol. 249, 
' ' De Apio. Somtyme victours had gar- 
londes of it, as Isidore sayth Libro xvii. 
Hercules made hym fyrste garlondes of 
this herbe." It is similarly introduced in 
Greene's " Second part of Conny-catch- 
ing," 1592, sign, b 4 verso. At Islip, in 
Oxfordshire, the transplantation of par- 
sley is considered inauspicious. 

Parsloes, Essex.— See Eeadlea 
Steeds of Haddon. 

Pasch Egrss. — Comp. a good note in 
Nares, Glossary, 1859, in v. 

Passagfe. — A game at dice, des- 
cribed by Nares and Halliwell. Supposed 
to be the same as the French passe-dix. 
But an earlier authority than the two 
writers above named cite for this amuse- 
ment is the interlude of the World and the 
Child, 1522, where we read : 

"Yea, and we shall be right welcome, 

I dare well say. 
In East Cheap for to dine ; 
And then we will with Lombards at 

passage play. 
And at the Pope's Head sweet wine 

assay — " 

ShaJcespear : Himself and his work, by W. 
C. Hazlitt, 1903, p. 148; Hazlitt's Dodsley, 
xi, 431. 

PassamezzQ, Passlngr-Mea- 
sure, or Passa-measure.— A slow 
dance, often mentioned by early writers. 
See Halliwell in v. 

Passing:, Sauncing:, or Soul 
Bell, — The ceremony of tolling a bell on 
this occasion was not only not as ancient 
as the use of bells, but the latter were ori- 
ginally employed for secular as well as 
ecclesiastical purposes, having been during 
centuries substitutes for clocks. It was 
only at a comparatively later date that 
they came into use as signals to convene 
the people to their public devotions. It 
has more probably been an after-invention 
of superstition. Thus praying for the 
dying was added to praying for the dead. 

Wheatley, in his "Illustration of the 
Book of Common Prayer," 1741, apolo- 
gizes for our retaining this ceremony : 
"Our Church," says he, "in imitation 
of the saints in former ages, calls on the 
minister and others, who are at hand, to 
assist their brother in his last extremity. 
In order to this she directs that when any 
one is passing out of this life, a bell should 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



be tolled^" &c. It is called from thence 
the Passing Bell. C. xxii, sect. 6. 

"The Passing Bell," says Grose, "was 
antiently rung for two purposes : one to 
bespeak the prayers of all good Christians, 
for a soul just departing ; the other, to 
drive away the evil spirits who stood at 
the bed's foot, and about the house, ready 
to seize their prey, or at least to molest 
and terrify the soul in its passage ; but 
by the ringing of that bell (for Durandus 
informs us evil spirits are much afraid of 
bells,) they were kept aloof ; and the soul, 
like a hunted hare, gained the start, or 
had what is by sportsmen called law. 
Hence, perhaps, exclusive of the ad- 
ditional labour was occasioned the high 
price demanded for tolling the greatest 
bell of the church ; for that, being louder, 
the evil spirits must go farther oft, to be 
clear of its sound, by which the poor Soul 
got so much more the start of them : 
besides, being heard farther off, it would 
likewise procure the dying man a. greater 
number of prayers. This dislike of spirits 
to bells is mentioned in the Golden 
Legend." 

Douce was inclined to think that the 
passing bell was originally intended to 
drive away any demon that might seek to 
take possession of the soul of the deceased. 
In the cuts to those Sorce which contain 
the Service of the Dead, several devils are 
waiting for this purpose in the chamber 
of the dying man, to whom the priest is 
administering extreme unction. He adds: 
" It is to hoped that this ridiculous custom 
will never be revived, which has most 
probably been the cause of sending many 
a good soul to the other world before its 
time : nor can the practice of tolling bells 
for the dead be defended upon any prin- 
ciple of common sense, prayers for the 
dead being contrary to the Articles of our 
Religion." In Catholic times here it has 
been customary to toll the Passing Bell at 
all hours of the night as well as by day ; 
as the subsequent extract from the 
Churchwardens' Account for the parish 
of Wolchurch, 1526, proves: "Item, the 
clerke to have for tollynge of the passynge 
belle, for manne, womanne, or childes, if 
it be in the day, iiijd. Item, if it be in 
the night, for the same viijd." Bede con- 
tends that this bell, contrary to the present 
custom, should be tolled before the per- 
son's departure, that good men might give 
him their prayers, adding, that, if they do 
no good to the departing sinner, they at 
least evince the disinterested charity of 
the person that prefers them. Lib. iv., 
C. 23. Durandus says in his Mationale : 
" Aliquo moriente Campanse debent pul- 
.<!ari, ut Populus hoc audiens oret pro 
illo.^' 
The peal of the church-bell, prescribed 



479 

by the Canonists, was thought indispen- 
sable to the translation of the soul of a 
dead person, and as an unbaptized infant 
could not receive this rite, the parents 
were haunted by the fear, that the soul 
of the departed would not quit the body. 

It is scarcely necessary to remind tlie 
reader of the almost invariable craving 
which persons in articulo mortis manifest 
for abundance of fresh air, and for a place 
near the open window. The motive is 
obvious enough, and can have no affinity 
with the custom which prevailed very 
widely at one time of throwing the window 
and door open, immediately after death, 
that the liberated soul might properly 
pass. In an old English Homily for Tri- 
nity Sunday, occurs : " The fourme of the 
Trinity, was founded in manne, that was 
Adam our forefadir, of earth oon personne, 
and Eve of Adam the secunde persone : 
and of them both was the third persone. 
At the deth of a manne three bellis shulde 
be ronge, as his knyll, in worcheppe of 
the Trinetee, and for a womanne, who 
was the secunde persone of the Trinetee, 
two bellis should be rungen." 

In " The Sheepheaids description of 
Loue," by Sir W. Raleigh, in " Englands 
Helicon," 1600, are the following lines, 
in which the Passing Bell is termed 
the Sauncing Bell : 

" Melibeus. Sheepheard, whats Loue, I 

pray thee telli' 
Faiistus. It is that fountaine, and that 

well, 
Where pleasure and repentance dwell. 
It is perhaps that sauncing bell. 
That toles all into heauen or hell, 
And this is Loue as I heard tell." 

In The Meeting of Gallants at an Ordi- 
nary, 1604, it is called the Saunce Bell, 
where Siguier Stramazoon says : " Stoote, 
the mad butchir, squeakes shriller then the 
Saunce Bell at Westminster." As for 
the title of "Soul Bell," as that bell is 
sometimes called, which they toll after a 
person's breath is out, if they mean by 
it that it is a call upon us to pray for the 
soul of the deceased person, I know not 
how the Church of England can be de- 
fended against the charge of those who, 
in this instance, would seem to tax us 
with praying for the dead. See Bishop 
Hall's " Apology against the Brownists." 
" We call them," says the Bishop, ibid, 
p. 568, " Soul Bells, for that they signify 
the departure of the soul, not for that they 
help the passage of the soul." — Bourne. 

The following is a description of a 
Funeral or Dead Peale : "It being cus- 
tomary not only in this City of London, 
upon the death of any person that is a 
member of any of the honourable Societies 
of Ringers therein, (but likewise in most 
countries and towns in England, not only 

GG 



480 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



upon the death of a ringer, but likewise of 
any young man or woman,) at the funeral 
of every such person to ring a peal ; which 
peal ought to be different from those for 
mirth and recreation, (as the musick at 
the funeral of any master of musick or 
the ceremony at the funeral of any 
person belonging to military discipline) 
and may be performed two different 
ways : the one is by ringing the bells 
round at a set pull, thereby keeping 
them up so as to delay their striking, 
that there may be the distance of 
three notes at least, (according to the 
true compass of ringing upon other 
occasions,) between bell and bell ; and 
having gone round one whole pull every 
bell, (except the tenor,) to set and stand ; 
whilst the tenor rings one pull in the same 
compass as before ; and this is to be done 
whilst the person deceased is bringing to 
the ground ; and after he is interred, to 
ring a short peal of round ringing, or 
changes in true time and compass, and so 
conclude. The other way is call'd buffet- 
ing the bells, that is, by tying jjieces of 
leather, old hat, or any other thing that 
is pretty thick, round the ball of the clap- 
per of each bell, and then by ringing them 
as before is shewn, they make a most dole- 
ful and mournful sound : concluding with 
a short peal after the funeral is over, 
(the clappers being clear as at other 
times : ) which way of buffeting is most 
praotis'd in this City of London." Cam- 
panologia, 1753, p. 200. 

The following clause in the " Advertise- 
ments for due Order," &c. 1565, is much 
to our purpose : ' ' Item, that when anye 
Christian bodie is in passing, that the bell 
be tolled, and that the curate be speciallie 
called for to comforte the sicke person ; 
and after the time of his passinge, to ringe 
no more but one shorte peale ; and one 
before the buriall, and another short 
peale after the buriall." I find the fol- 
lowing in Jhe York Articles (any year till 
1640) : 'jjWhether doth your dark or sex- 
ton, when any one is passing out of this 
life, neglect to toll a bell, having notice 
thereof : or, the party being dead, doth he 
suffer any more ringing than one short 
peale, and, before his burial one, and after 
the same another?" Inquiry is also 
directed to be made, " whether at the 
death of any there be any superstitious 
ringing?" In the Chichester Articles of 
Enquiry, 1638, under the head of Visita- 
tion of the sicke and persons at the point 
of death, we read: "In the meane-time 
is there a passing-bell tolled, that they 
who are within the hearing of it may be 
moved in their private devotions to re- 
commend the state of the departing soule 
into the hands of their Redeemer, a duty 
which all Christians are bound to, out of 



a fellow-feeling of their common mor- 
tality." I find the following in the Wor- 
cester Articles of Visitation, 1662 : ' 'Doth 
the parish clerk or sexton take care to 
admonish the living, by tolling of a 
passing-bell of any that are dying, thereby 
to meditate of their own deaths, and to 
commend the other's weak condition to 
the mercy of God?" In similar Articles 
for the Biocese of St. David in the same 
year, I read as follows : " Doth the parish 
clerk, or sexton, when any person is pass- 
ing out of this life, upon notice being 
given him thereof, toll a Dell, as hath been 
accustomed, that the neighbours rnay 
thereby be warned to recommend the dying 
person to the grace and favour of God?" 

Among the many objections of the 
Brownists, it is laid to the charge of the 
Church of England, that though we deny 
the doctrine of Purgatory and teach the 
contrary, yet how well our practice suits 
with it may be considered in our ringing 
of hallowed bells for the soul. Pennant 
says : that in the 18th century the Passing 
Bell was punctually sounded. " I mention 
this," he says, "because idle niceties have, 
in great towns, often caused the disuse. It 
originated before the Reformation, to give 
notice to the priest to do the last duty 
of extreme unction to the departing per- 
son, in case he had no other admonition. 
The canon (67) allows one short peal after 
death, one other before the funeral, and 
one other after the funeral. The second is 
still in use, and is a single bell 
solemnly tolled. The third is a merry 
peal, rung at the request of the relations ; 
as if, Scythian like, they rejoiced at the 
escape of the departed out of this trouble- 
some^ world. 

"Bede, speaking of the death of the Ab- 
bess of St. Hilda, tells us, that one of the 
sisters of a distant m'onastery, as she was 
weeping, thought she heard the well-known 
sound of that bell which called them to 
prayers, when any of them had departed 
this life. The abbess had no sooner heard 
this, than she raised all the sisters and 
called them into the church, where she 
exhorted them to pray fervently, and sing 
a requiem for the soul of their mother. 
Lib. iv, C. 23. 

In Hooper's " Funeral Oration," 1549, 
occurs this singular passage: "Theyr 
remedyes be folyshe and to be mocked at, 
as the ryngynge of belles, to ease the 
payne of the dead wythe other :" as if 
the purpose of tolling the Passing Bell has 
been intended to give an easy passage to 
the dying perspn. The following passage 
is from Vernon: "If they shoulde tolle 
theyr belles (as they did in good Kynge 
Edwardes dayes) when any bodye is draw- 
ing to his ende and departinge out of 
this worlde, for to cause all menne to praye 



AJ>JL) FUFULAK CUSTOMS. 



481 



unto God for him, that of his accustomed 
goodnesse and mercye, he should vouch- 
safe to receave him unto his mercye, 
forgevinge him all his sinnes : Their ring- 
inge shuld have better appearance and 
should be more conformable to the aun- 
ciente Catholicke Churche." Hunting of 
Purgatory to Death, 1561, fol. 60. 

In Birrel's "Diary," is the following 
curious entry : "1566. The 25 of October, 
vord came to the toune of Edinburghe, 
frome the Queine, y' her Majestie wea 
deadly seike, and desyrit y« bells to be 
runge, and all y" peopill to resort to y" 
kirk to pray for her, for she wes so seike 
that none lipned her life." Fragm. of 
Scotish History, 1796. There is, as may 
be supposed, no want of literary allusions 
to the present topic. 

There is a passage in Shakespear's 
"Henry the Fourth," 1600, which proves 
that our poet has not been a more accurate 
observer of nature than of the manners 
and customs of his time : 

' ' And his tongue 

Sounds ever after as u, sullen bell 

Remember'd knolling a departing 
friend." 

In Heywood's "Rape of Lucrece," first 
printed in 1608, Valerius says: "Nay if 
he be dying, as I could wish he were, I'le 
ring out his funerall peale, and this it is : 

' ' Come lift and harke, 
The bell doth towle. 
For some but now 
Departing soule. 
And was not that 
Some ominous fowle. 
The batt, the night- 
Crow, or screech-owle. 
To these I heare 
The wild wolfe howle 
In this black night 
That seems to skowle. 
All these my black- 
Booke shall in-rowle. 
For hark, still, still. 
The bell doth towle. 
For some but now 
Departing sowle." 

Fuller writes : " Hearing a Passing- 
Bell, I prayed that the sick man might 
have, through Christ, a safe voyage to 
his long home. Afterwards I understood 
that the party was dead some hours before ; 
and, it seems in some places of London, 
the tolling of the bell is but a preface of 
course to the ringing it out. Bells are 
better silent than thus telling lyes. What 
is this but giving a safe alarme to men's 
devotions, to make them to be ready armed 
with their prayers for the assistance of 
such who have already fought the good 
fight, yea and gotten the conquest? Not 
to say that men's charity herein may be 



suspected of superstition in praying for 
the dead." Good thoughts in Worse 
Times, 1647, p. 2. Zouch says: "The 
Soul-bell was tolled before the departure 
of a person out of life, as a signal for 
good men to offer up ther prayers for the 
dying. Hence the abuse commenced of 
praying for the dead. He is citing 
Donne's Letter to AVotton in verse : 

" And thicken on you now, as prayers 

ascend 
To Heaven on troops at a good man's 

Passing Bell." 

—Walton's Lives, 1790, p. 144. 

" Ring out your belles, let mourning 

shewes be spread. 
For Loue is dead." 

— Englands Helicon, 1600. 

" Make me a straine speake groaning 

like a bell. 
That towles departing soules." 

— Marston's Works, 1633, sign, d 5 verso. 

"Hark, hark! what noise is this; a 

Passing Bell, 
That doth our own fate in an others 
tell." 
Sparke's Scintillula Altaris, 1652. 

There is a proverb : 

"When thou dost hear a toll or knell. 
Then think upon thy Passing Bell." 

Comp. Capon-Bell. 

In Copley's "Wits, Fits, and Fancies," 
1595, we find that the Passing Bell was 
antiently rung while the person was dying. 
" A gentleman lying very sicke abed, 
heard a Passing Bell ring out, and said 
unto his physition, tell me Maister Doctor, 
is ponder musicke for my dancing?" 
Again, concerning " The ringing out at 
the burial," is this anecdote: "A rich 
churle and a begger were buried, at on© 
time, in the same church-yard, and the 
belles rung out amaine for the miser : 
Now, the wise-acre his son and executor, 
to the end of the worlde might not thinke 
that all that ringing was for the begger, 
but for his father, hyred a trumpetter to 
stand all the ringing-while in the belfrie, 
and betweene every peale to sound his 
trumpet, and proclaime aloude and say : 
Sirres, this next peale is not for R. but 
for Maister N. his father." 

Distinction of rank was preserved in the 
North of England in the tolling of the 
Soul Bell. A high fee annexed excludes 
the common people and appropriates to 
the death of persons of consequence the 
tolling of the great bell in each church 
on this occasion. There, too, a bell is 
tolled, and sometimes chimes are rung, a 
little before the burial, and while they are 
conducting the corpse to church. They 



482 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



chime or ring, too, at some places, while 
the grave is filling up. This was noted by 
Durandus. In England in the 17th cen- 
tury, a fee of 20/- was charged for ringing 
either a forenoon or afternoon peal ; this 
took place at the deaths of Edmund 
Shakespear the actor, the poet's brother, 
in 1607, and of Laurence Fletcher the 
actor in 1608: W. C. Hazlitt's Shakes- 
pear: Himself and his Work, 1903, p. 
49. There seems to be nothing intended 
at present by tolling the Passing Bell, but 
to inform the neighbourhood of any per- 
son's interment. 

At Hadleigh, in Suffolk, as late at all 
events as 1878, this bell was rung twelve 
hours after death, and at the conclusion 
there were nine knells for a male and six 
for a female. The charge made by the 
authorities of the church varied according 
to the fee paid ; for the Union Bell, pro- 
claiming the exit of a pauper, it was only 
3/-. Walford's Pleasant Days in Pleasant 
Places, 1878, p. 36. 

Passion Dock, — In the North of 
England, they make a herb-pudding, 
composed, among other ingredients, of the 
passion-dook, on Good Friday, and it is 
considered an indispensable feature. Un- 
less the custom arose from a desire to 
perpetuate the recollection of the Passion 
m every possible way, it is difficult to 
assign an origin to it. 

Passion Play. — For the perfor- 
mances of this nature in England in early 
times, see Hazlitt's Warton, 1871, ii, 
282-3, and for Italian prototypes in 1298, 
&c. ibid. 229. See also his Manual of Old 
English Plays, 1892, p. 175. 

In the Daily News of April 2, 1870, 
appeared the following paragraph : In the 
course of next summer the celebrated 
miracle play, the Passion, the last relic of 
those religious representations from which 
the dramatic literatures of all the modern 
nations of Europe are supposed to have 
sprung, will again be performed in the 
Bavarian village of Ober-Ammergau. The 
parish vowed to undertake the repres- 
entation in 1633, in order to escape the 
plague, and the piece was first performed 
ex voto in the following year. It was 
repeated every ten years till 1674, and then 
again in 1680, from which time till the 
present it has been played every decen- 
nium. There can be no doubt that the 
play itself is older than 1633, and though 
some slight changes have been made it has 
remained essentially unaltered. 

Passion Sunday. — Rites, peculiar, 
it should seem, to Good Friday, were used 
on this day, which the Church of Rome 
called therefore Passion Sunday. 

Passion or Carling Sunday might often 
happen on this day. Easter always fell 
between the 21st of March and the 25th of 



April, I know not why these rites wer© 
confined in the calendar to the 12th of 
March, as the moveable feast and fasta 
are not noted there. Perhaps Passion 
Sunday might fall on the 12th of March, 
the year the calendar was written or 
printed in. However that be, one cannot 
doubt of their having belonged to what 
Durandus calls Passion Sunday. 

In Randal Holmes' " Academy of Ar- 
mory and Blazon," 1688, p. 130, I find the 
following: "Carle Sunday is the second 
Sunday before Easter, or the fifth Sunday 
from Shrove Tuesday." Marshal, in his 
" Observations on the Saxon Gospels," 
elucidates the old name (Care) of this 
Sunday in Lent. He tells us that ' ' the 
Friday on which Christ was crucified is 
called, in German, both Gute Freytag and 
Carr Fryetag." That the word Karr 
signifies a satisfaction for a fine or 
penalty ; and that Care, or Carr Sunday, 
was not unknown to the English in his 
time, at least to such as lived among old 
people in the country. 

The " Popish Kingdom " of Naogeorgus, 
as translated by Googe, 1570, has the 
following summary for Care or Passion 
Sunday : 

" Now comes the Svmday forth, of this 

same great and holy fast : 
Here doth the Pope the shriven blesse, 

absoluing them at last 
Prom all their sinnes ; and of the Jewes 

the law he doth allow. 
As if the power of God had not sufficient 

bene till now : 
Or that the law of Moyses here were 

still of force and might. 
In these same happie dayes, when Christ 

doth raigne with heavenly light. 
The boyes with ropes of straw doth frame 

an vgly monster here, 
And call him death, whom from the 

towne, with prowd and solemne 

chore. 
To hilles and valleyes they conuey, and 

villages thereby. 
From whence they stragling doe returne, 

well beaten commonly. 
Thus children also beare, with speares, 

their cracknelles round about, 
And two they haue, whereof the one is 

called sommer stout, 
Apparalde all in greene, and drest in 

youthfull fine arraye ; 
The other Winter, clad in mosse, with 

heare all hoare and graye : 
These two togither fight, of which the 

palme doth Sommer get. 
From hence to meate they go, and all 

with wine their wistles wet. 
The other toyes that in this time of holly 

fastes appeare, 
I loth to tell, nor order like, is used 

every wheare." 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



48s 



Patrick's Dayi St. — St. Patrick is 

mentioned in the " Prophecy of St. Ber- 
chan," A.D. 1094-7 : 

" Erin shall not be without a wise one 

After Bridget and Patrick of great 
deeds." 

This is Mr. Skene's translation of the 
original Irish in his edition of the "Chroni- 
cles of the Picts and Scots," 1867. He 
has there also given extracts from Joce- 
line's Life (1185), and from what is 
generally known as the " Vita Tripartita." 
There are several later biographies. 

The shamrock is said to be worn by the 
Irish, upon the anniversary of this saint, 
for the following reason. When the saint 
preached the gospel to the pagan Irish, he 
illustrated the doctrine of the Trinity by 
showing them a trefoil, or three-leaved 
^rass with one stalk, which operating to 
their conviction, the shamrock, which is 
a bundle of this grass, was ever after- 
wards worn upon this Saint's anniversary 
to commemorate the event. Spenser, in 
his " View of the State of Ireland " 1596, 
speaking of "these late warres of Moun- 
ster," before " a most rich and plentifull 
■countrey, full of corne and cattle," says, 
the inhabitants were reduced to such 
distress that, "if they found a plot of 
watercresses or shamrocks there, they 
iflocked as to a feast for the time." 

Jones tells us that " St. Patrick, the 
Apostle of Ireland, is said to be the son 
of Calphurnius and Concha. He was born 
in Pembrokeshire (or rather Carnarvon- 
shire) about the year 373. His original 
Welsh name was Maenwyn, and his ec- 
clesiastical name of Patricius was given 
him by Pope Celestine, when he con- 
secrated him a bishop, and sent him 
missioner into Ireland, to convert the 
Irish, in 433. When St. Patrick landed 
near Wicklow, the inhabitants were 
ready to stone him for attempting 
.■an innovation in the religion of their 
ancestors. He requested to be heard, and 
•explained unto them that God is an omni- 
potent, sacred spirit, who created heaven 
and earth, and that the Trinity is con- 
tained in the Unity : but they were 
reluctant to give credit to his words. St. 
Patrick, therefore, plucked a trefoil from 
the ground, and expostulated with the 
Hibernians : Is it not as possible for the 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as for these 
three leaves to grow upon a single stalk. 
Then the Irish were immediatel.v con- 
vinced of their error, and were solemnly 
baptised by St. Patrick." The British 
Druids and Bards had an extraordinary 
-veneration for the number three. 

"Between May Day and harvest," ob- 
iserves Sir H. Piers, "butter, new cheese 
aind curds, and shamrocks, are the food of 
tthe meaner sort all this season." Shir- 



ley's play of " St. Patrick for Ireland," 
1640, merely relates the first landing of the 
Saint in Ireland and the introduction of 
Christianity into that country. A second 

Eart was announced, but does not seem to 
avo been produced. 

Air. Thomas Wright, in 1844, devoted 
to the singular subject of St. Patrick's 
Purgatory a small octavo volume ; and it 
will bo unnecessary therefore to dwell upon 
it at any length here ; but it may be 
mentioned that an ancient French fabliau 
exists, founded on this tradition, and is 
inserted in Lo Graod's Collection, from 
which it was transferred to a little volume, 
published in 1786, under the title of "Tales 
of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries." 
An early English metrical version, called 
" Owain Miles," is preserved in the Auch- 
inleck MS., and was printed (with a few 
other pieces from the same source) in 1837. 
The account which Henry Jones, Bishop 
of Clogher, gives of this place in his tract 
of 1647, conveys a poor idea of its condi- 
tion and character. He describes it as "a 
beggarly hole." 

Perhaps one of the most complete sum- 
maries of the St. Patrick's Purgatory 
literature is that given by Turnbull in 
his Introduction to the Visions of Tundale, 
88, 1843. But comp. Hazlitt's Handbook, 
432, 447, 616, and Bibl. Coll. i, 323, 402, 
ii, 606, iii, 305, iv, 79, 180. About 1495 
ohe Wilhelm von Horneck printed at 
Memmingen and addressed to the Duke 
of Wiirtemburg a poem De Purgatorio 

I dim Patricij. A copy is in the Huth 

I library. 

In " Overbury's Characters," when des- 
cribing a foot-man, he says, " 'Tis 
impossible to draw his picture to the life, 
cause a man must take it as he's running ; 

: only this, horses are usually let bloud on 
St. Steven's Day: on St. Patrick's he 
takes rent, and is drencht for all the yeare 
after." M. Salverte, in his work on the 

j "Occult Sciences," 1843, quotes Gervaso 
of Tilbury, for the legend that to do hom- 
age to a saint revered in Ireland (St. 

I Patrick) the fish rise from the sea on the 
day of his festival, pass in procession 
before his altar, and tlien disappear. M. 
Salvert« accounts for this superstition by 

I supposing that it originated in the annual 

I shoals of herring, mackerel, and tunny oji 
the coast in the spring, in the neighbour- 
hood of the church dedicated to the Saint. 
But this hypothesis in not extremely 
plausible. 

The usages in London associated with 
this anniversary are yet maintained. The 
following is from the Globe newspaper of 
March 17, 1897; — 

" To-dii,y being St. Patrick's Day, the 
band of the Coldstream Guards, which did 
duty with the detachment of the regiment 



484 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



mounting the Queen's Guard in Lon- 
don, played a choice selection of Irish 
music in the courtyard of St. James's 
Palace in the morning during the cere- 
mony of changing the guard. Earlier in 
the day the drummers and fifers of the 
Grenadier Guards at Chelsea Barracks 
played a number of Irish airs. Sprigs of 
real and artificial shamrock were worn 
extensively by the Irish resident in West- 
minster, Chelsea, and other parts of 
London, and in many instances the day 
was observed as a holiday by the labourers 
at the gas works and other large places 
of business. A number of Irishmen at- 
tended the early services at the Catholic 
chapels, and in accordance with the Truce 
of St. Patrick, instituted by the late 
Cardinal Manning, have pledged them- 
selves to abstain from intoxicating liquors 
for the day, to prevent the riotous scenes 

Erevaleut years ago on their national 
oliday. The day was celebrated by the 
military at Dublin, Aldershot, and other 
stations, in the usual way." 

Paul's Church, St.— The then well- 
known profanations of St. Paul's Church 
are thus enumerated by Pilkington : "The 
south alley for vsurye and Poperye, the 
north for Simony and the Horse faire in 
the middest for all kinds of bargains, 
metinges, brawlinges, murthers, con- 
spiracies, and the font for ordinary 
paimentes of money, are so well knowon 
to all menne as the begger knowes his 
dishe." Burnynge of Paules, 1563, sign. 
G 5. This is illustrated by the writers 
of the next reign and of the Civil War 
period ; see the tract entitled : The Meet- 
ing of Gallants at an Ordinaric, or, the 
WalJces in Powles, 1604. The Puritan 
soldiers, according to the pamphleteers, 
spared no pains to shew their contempt 
for the place. 

_In Dekker's " Dead Tearme," 1607, sig- 
nlt. D 4, St. Paul's Steeple is introduced 
as describing the company walking in the 
body of the church, and among other 
things, the writer says: "What layinge 
of heads is there together and sifting of 
the brains, still and anon, as it growes 
towardes eleven of the clocke, (even 
amongst those that wear guilt rapiers by 
their sides,) where for that noone they 
may shift from Duke Humfrey, and bee 
furnished with a dinner, at some meaner 
man's table." Afterwards he observes : 
"What byting of the thumbs to beget 
quarrels:" adding that, "at one time, 
in one and the same ranke, yea, foote by 
foote, and elbow by elbow, shall you see 
walking, the knight, the gull, the gallant, 
the upstart, the gentleman, the clowne, 
the captain, the appel-squire, the lawyer, 
the usurer, the oittizen, the bankerout, 
the scholler, the beggar, the doctor, the 



ideot, the ruffian, the cheater, the puritan, 
the cut-throat, the hye men, the low-men, 
the true man, and the thiefe : of all trades 
and professions some, of all countryes. 
some. Thus whilest devotion kneeles at 
her prayers, doth profanation walke under 
her nose in contempt of religion." Comp. 
Duhe Humphrey. 

Paul's Day, St.— (Jan. 25). In the 
Roman Calendar it is called Dies 
jEgyptiacus (an unlucky day.) But no 
explanation seems ever to have been 
offered of the origin of this opinion or 
feeling, and the same may be said of the 
statement which follows. Hospinian tells, 
us that it is a critical day with the vulgar, 
indicating, if it be clear, abundance of 
fruits ; if windy, foretelling wars ; if 
cloudy, the pestilence ; if rainy or snowy, 
it prognosticates dearness and scarcity : 
according to the old Latin verses, thu» 
translated in Bourne : 

"If St. Paul's Day be fair and clear. 
It doth betide a happy year ; 
If blustering winds do blow aloft. 
Then wars will trouble our realm full) 

oft; 
And if it chance to snow or rain, 
Then will be dear all sorts of grain." 

Willsford, in his "Nature's Secrets," p. 
145, gives the verses as follows : 

" If St. Paul's Day be fair and clear. 
It does betide a happy year ; 
But if it chance to snow or rain. 
Then will be dear all kinds of grain : 
If clouds or mists do dark the skie. 
Great store of bii-ds and beasts shall die ;. 
And if the winds do fly aloft. 
Then wars shall vex the kingdome oft." 

Machyn the Diarist notices the annual 
procession to St. Paul's on January 25,, 
1557-8. " There was," says he, "a goodly 
procession at St. Paul's. There was a 
priest of every parryche of the dyosses of 
Londun, with a cope, and the bishop of 
Londun wayreng ys myter ; and after cam 
a fat buck, and ys bed with the homes- 
borne a-pone a baner-pole, and xl homes, 
blohyng a-for the boke and be-hynd." 
This custom originated in 1375 under 
circumstances which are fully detailed in 
the "Book of Days." 

Knight in his Life of_ Erasmus, 1726,. 
notices this custom of bringing in proces- 
sion into the church the head of a deer, 
fixed on the top of a long spear or pole, 
"with the whole company blowing Hunters- 
Horns in a sort of hideous manner; and 
with this rude pomp they go up to the- 
High Altar, and offer it there. You would' 
think them all the mad Votaries of 
Diana." In relation to this usage it is 
best to refer to the tenure of the land at 
Westlee in Essex, as the offering seems. 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



485 



to have been connected with the grant 
made to Sir William Le Baud by the 
canons of St. Paul's, 3 Edward I. 

Paul's Evil, St. — A name given to 
the falling sickness. 

Paul's Pitcher-Day. — (Jan. 24). 
This is a red letter day, as the late Mr. 
Couch of Bodmin pointed out, among the 
Cornish tinners. His words are these: — 
"The first red-letter day in the tinner's 
calendar is Paul's Pitcher-day, or the eve 
of Paul's Tide (January 24th). It is 
marked by a very curious and inexplicable 
custom, not only among tin-streamers, but 
also in the mixed mining and agricultural 
town and neighbourhood of Bodmin, and 
among the sea-faring population of Pad- 
stow. The tinner's mode of observing it 
is as follows: — On the day before the 
Feast of St. Paul, a water-pitcher is set 
up at a convenient distance, and pelted 
with stones until entirely demolished. 
The men then leave their work, and ad- 
journ into a neighbouring ale-house, where 
a new pitcher, bought to replace the old 
one, is successively filled and emptied, and 
the evening is given up to merriment and 
misrule. On inquiry whether some dim 
notion of the origin and meaning of this 
custom remained among those who still 
keep it up, I find it generally held to be 
an ancient festival intended to celebrate 
the day when tin was first turned into 
metal, — in fact, the discovery of smelting. 
It is the occasion of a revel, in which, as 
an old streamer observes, there is an 
open rebellion against the water-drinking 
system which is enforced upon them whilst 
at work." 

The custom of observing Paul's Pitcher 
Night, is probably half-forgotten even in 
Cornwall at the present time, where many 
of the ancient provincial usages have been 
suffered to die out ; but Mr. Couch found 
it in full vigour so recently as 1859. The 
boys of Bodmin parade the town with 
pitchers, and into every house where the 
door can be opened, or has been inadvert- 
ently left so, they hurl a " Paul's pitcher." 
Punishing the youngsters is very much 
like the story of Mrs. Glasse and the hare : 
first catch them. The urchins cry, as they 
throw the pitcher : 

" Paul's eve. 

And here's a heave." 

The origin of the practice has not been 
stated ; it is doubtful whether it will ever 
be discovered. The author of the fore- 
going distich does not seem to have 
possessed a very poetical or musical ear. 
Paul's Stump, St.— In Bagford's 
day (1714), a post near Billingsgate was 
known as St. Paul's Stump, and it was 
an usage which had grown obsolete even at 
that time, for the porters who plied there 



to invite every passenger to kiss the post, 
whereupon, if he complied, they gave him 
a name, and he was to choose one of them 
for his godfather; but upon his refusal, 
he was bumped against the post. Leland's 
" Collectanea," ed. 1770, p. Ixxvi. 

Pax. — A tablet or disc of wood, metal, 
ivory, or glass used in the service of the 
church both in England and abroad as a 
means of passing the kiss of peace from 
the priest (representing Christ) to the 
congregation. The pax occurs in the Eng- 
lish ritual as far back as the 13th century. 
Antiquary, July, 1897. Comp. Nuptial 
Usages. 

Pax-cake. — A cake distributed in 
former times on Palm Sunday at Lellcck 
Church, Hampshire. 

Pearie. — Jamieson defines pearie, 
"that instrument of play used by boys 
in Scotland, which in England is called a 

Feg-top." It seems to have been named 
roni its exact resemblance to a pear. 
The humming-top of England is in Scot- 
land denominated a French pearie, 
probably as having been originally im- 
ported from France. In Beyer's Diction- 
ary, " faire une ecol© " is rendered "to 
be pegged." 

Peascod Wooing:- — Grose tells us 
that a " scalding of peas is a custom in the 
North of boiling the common grey peas in 
the shell, and eating them with butter and 
salt, first shelling them. A bean, shell 
and all, is put into one of the pea-pods : 
whoever gets this bean is to be first mar- 
ried." If a young woman, while she is 
shelling peas, meets with a pod of nine, 
the first young man who crosses the 
threshold afterwards is to be her husband. 

In the "Whitby Glossary," quoted by 
Atkinson, this is called pea-scalding, and 
is described as " a kind of popular festi- 
vity, at which green peas scalded, or 
slightly boiled with their pods on, are the 
main dish. Being set on the table in the 
midst of the party, each person dips his 
peascod in a common cup of butter and 
salt, made fluid by the heat of the steam- 
ing mass, and extracts the peas by the 
agency of his teeth." Heywood, in his 
" Payr Mayde of the Exchange," 1607, 
introduces a scene in front of the Cripple 
of Pancliurch's shop, and makes one of 
the characters say : 

"Now for my true loves handkercher ! 

these flowers 
Are pretty toys, are very pretty toys. 
Oh, but methinks the peascod would do 

better. 
The peascod and the blossom wonderful ! 

But here's the question — whether my 
love, or no, 



486 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Will seem content? Ay, there the game 
doth go; 

And yet I'll pawn my head he will ap- 
plaud 

The peascod and the flow'r, my pretty 
choice. 

For what is he, loving a thing in heart, 

Loves not the counterfeit, tho' made by 
Art?" 

Perhaps this is the oldest allusion to 
the belief of our ancestors, that the 
divination by the peascod was an infallible 
criterion in love affairs. Browne, in his 
'•Pastorals," 1614, says: 

" The peascod greene, oft with no little 

toyle, 
He'd seek for in the fattest fertil'st 

soile, 
And rend it from the stalke to bring it 

to her, 
And in her bosom for acceptance wooe 

her." 

In " As You Like It," Touchstone has 
these observations put into his mouth : 
" I remember, when I was in love, I broke 
my sword upon a stone, and bid him take 
that for coming anight to Jane Smile : 
and I remember the kissing of her batlet, 
and the cow's dugs that her pretty chopp'd 
hands had milk'd; and I remember the 
wooing of a peascod instead of her ; from 
whom I took two cods, and giving her 
them again, said, with weeping tears, 
wear these for my sake." This super- 
stition is also illustrated by Gay, in his 
"Pastorals;" and there are still persons 
who put faith in its efficacy. In the North 
of England and in Scotland, it is, or was, 
a custom to rub with peastraw a girl to 
wiiom her lover had not been true. In 
Devonshire there is a proverb : 

"Winter time for shoeing: 
Peascod time for w ooing." 

Peeping: Tom of Coventry. — 

See Halliwell in v. and Wo.rwich Castle 
Olid its Earls, by Lady Warwick, 1903, ch. 
iv. The story of Peeping Tom appears to 
have been an aftergrowth from the ori- 
ginal Godiva legend. 

Pes-fiched. — A West-country 
game. See Halliwell in v. 

Peg: in the Ring:- — A mode of play- 
ing at top. See Halliwell in v. 

Pelican.— Philip de Thaun, in his 
Anglo-Norman Bestiary, circa 1120, in- 
troduces the common fallacy respecting 
the pelican, as follows : " Of such a nature 
it is, when it comes to its young birds, and 
they are great and handsome, and it will 
fondle thein,cover them with its wings ; the 
little birds are fierce, take to pecking it — 
desire to eat it, and pick out its two eyes ; 
then it pecks, and takes them, and slays 
them with torment; and thereupon leaves 



them — leaves them lying dead — then re- 
turns on the third day, is grieved to find 
them dead, and makes such lamentation, 
when it sees its little birds dead that 
with its beak it strikes its body that the 
blood issues forth ; the blood goes dropping. 
and falls on its young birds-— the blood 
has such quality, that by it they come to 

life ." Wright's Popular Treatises on 

Science, 1841 pp. 115-6. In A Short 
Relation of the Biver Nile, 1669, where 
the writer (Sir Peter Wyche) has been 
speaking of the Bird of Paradise, he pro- 
ceeds to say : ' ' The Pelican has better 
credit, (called by Quevedo the self- 
disciplining bird,) and hath been dis- 
covered in the land of Angola, where some 
were taken. I have seen two. Some will 
have a scar in the breast, from a wound 
of her own making there, to feed (as is 
reported) her young with her own bloud, 
an action which ordinarily suggests devout 
fancies." There seems to be here a ves- 
tige of a common morbid phenomenon in 
maternity. 

Penny and iHalfpenny Rents. 
— A form of tenure not uncommon in 
feudal times, the latter far rarer, however. 
In 1426-7, 5 Henry VI., Sir John Assheton 
acquired the manor of Ashton-under-Lyne 
at the rent of a penny a year. 

Penny Hop.— A country club of 
dancers or a ball among the lower classes, 
where each person pays a penny to the 
fiddler. Institutions of this class', slightly 
varied, still exist even in the suburbs of 
London, the place of amusement being a 
loft or an empty chamber of some kind. 

Penny-lattice-house.— An old 
term for a very low ale-house. 

Penny-Prick.— For a notice of this 
game with counters I may refer to the 
notes to " The English Courtier and the 
Country Gentleman," 1586, which was re- 
printed in the Boxbiirqh Library, 1868, 
and which is a new title to Civil and 
Uncivil Life, 1579. 

Penny Wedding:,— In the " Statis- 
tical Account of Scotland," parish of 
Drainy, Co. Elgin, we are told, " a Penny 
Wedding is when the expence of the 
marriage entertainment is not defrayed 
by the young couple, or their relations, 
but by a club among the guests. 'Two 
hundred people, of both sexes, will some- 
times be convened on an occasion of this 
kind." In the same work under 1799, 
the Editor observes "the scene which in- 
volved every amusement and every joy of 
an idle and illiterate age, was the penny 
bridal. When a pair were contracted, 
they for a stipulated consideration bespoke 
their wedding at a certain tavern, and 
then ranged the country in every direction 
to solicit guests. One, two, and even 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



three hundred would have convened on 
these occasions, to make merry at their 
own expence for two or more days. This 
scene of feasting, drinking, dancing, woo- 
ing, fighting, &c. was always enjoyed with 
the highest relish, and, until obliterated 
by a similar scene, furnished ample 
materials for rural mirth and rural scan- 
dal. But now the penny bridal is 
reprobated as an index of want of money 
and of want of taste." 

Again, it is said: "Marriages in this 
place are generally conducted in the 
Parish of Avock, Co. Ross, in the style of 
penny weddings. Little other fare is 
provided except bread, ale, and whisky. 
The relatives, who assemble in the morn- 
ing, are entertained with a dram and a 
•drink gratis. But, after the ceremony is 
performed, every man pays for his drink. 
The neighbours then convene in great 
numbers. A fiddler or two, with perhaps 
a boy to scrape on an old violoncello, are 
«ngaged. A barn is allotted for the 
■dancing, and a house for drinking. And 
thus they make merry for two or three 
■days, till Saturday night. On the Sab- 
bath, after returning from chuich, the 
married couple give a sort of dinner or 
■entertainment to the present friends on 
both sides. So that these weddings, on 
the whole, bring little gain or loss to the 
parties." 

Penryn, Co. of Cornwall. — At 
this borough town, formerly also known 
as Permorin, the mayor has the right, 
said to be unique, of electing a church- 
warden. 

_ Pension. — The meeting of the An- 
cients at Gray's Inn. See Halliwell in v. 

Pentacle. — A figure of three tri- 
angles intersected, and formerly used as 
a charm. See Halliwell in v. 

Pepper Cakes. — In Yorkshire 
^Cleveland) the children eat, at the Christ- 
mas season, according to Mr. Atkinson, 
" a kind of gingerbread baked in large 
and thick cakes, or flat loaves," called 
pepper-cakes. Ihey are also usual at the 
birth of a. child. "One of these cakes," 
says Mr. A., "is provided and a cheese; 
the latter is on a large platter, or dish, 
and the pepper-cake upon it. The cutting 
of the Christmas cheese is done by the 
master of the house on Christmas Eve, 
and is a ceremony not to be lightly 
omitted. All comers to the house are in- 
vited to partake of the pepper-cake and 
Christmas cheese." Cleveland Glossary, 
1868, in V. 

Perilous Days. — In the " Book of 
Knowledge," which includes the Practica 
liusticorum, I find the following "Account 
of the perillous dayes of every month." 
■"In the change of every moon be two 
dayes, in the which what thing soever is 



487 

begun, late or never, it shall come to no 
good end, and the dayes be full perillous 
for many things. In January, when the 
moon is three or four dayes old. In 
February, 5 or 7. In March, 6 or 7. In 
April, 5 or 8. May, 8 or 9. June, 5 or 15. 
July, 3 or 13. August, 8 or 13. Sep- 
tember, 8 or 13. October, 5 or 12. 
November, 5 or 9. In December, 3 or 13. 
"Astronomers say, that six dayes in the 
year are perillous of death : and therefore 
they forbid men to let blood on them, or 
take any drink : that is to say, January 
the 3d, July the 1st, October the 2d, the 
last of April, August the first, the last day 
going out of December. These six dayes 
with great diligence ought to be kept, but 
namely the latter three, for all the veins 
are then full. For then, whether man or 
beast be knit in them within seven dayes, 
or certainly within fourteen dayes, he shall 
die. And if they take any drinks within 
fifteene dayes, they shall die ; and, if they 
eat any goose in these three dayes, within 
forty dayes they shall die ; and, if any 
child be born in these three latter dayes, 
they shall die a wicked death. 

" Astronomers and astrologers say, that 
in the beginning of March, the seventh 
night, or the fourteenth day, let thee 
bloud of the right arm ; and in the be- 
ginning of April, the eleventh day, of the 
left arm ; and in the end of May, third or 
fifth day, on whether arm thou wilt ; and 
thus, of all that year, thou shalt orderly 
be kept from the fever, the falling gout, 
the sister gout, and losse of thy sight." 
" The superstitious," remarks Brockett, 
in his "North-Country Glossary," 1846, 
"will neither borrow nor lend on any of 
these days, lest the article should be em- 
ployed for evil purposes." 

Persona. — By one of the Constitu- 
tions of Clarendon, 10 Henry II. a.d. 1165, 
where the clergy is laid under subjection 
to the secular power, it is enacted that all 
archbishops and bishops, "et universse per- 
sonce regni qui de rege tenent in capite," 
are liable to serve the Crown as other 
Barons. Parry's Parliaments and Coun- 
cils of England, 1839, p. 13. Here the 
word persona seems to be equivalent to 
the modern parson, and the form person 
was long employed, the same being a 
representative before God of the congre- 
gation. In 1207, 8 John, the King requires 
the Bishops and Abbots to permit the 
Persona? and beneficed clergy to grant him 
a certain part of their income. Ibid. 2. 
In 1236 we find the expression ccclr- 
siasticce personce. Ibid. 31. 

Peter. — A choice kind of Malaga 
wine, popularly known as Peter-see-mc, 
a corruption of Pedro-Ximenes. 

Peter ad Vincula, St. — The 
Chapel in the Tower of London so called, 



4&8 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



where so many historical personages have 
been interred. With the exception of the 
Church of S. Pietro in Vincoli at Rome, it 
is said to be the sole example of such a 
dedication. D. C. Bell, Notices, 1877, p. 
3. In a parliament held at Westminster, 
July 25, 1337, an inhabitant of Bodmin 
is commanded to attend there on Friday, 
the Feast of St. Peter ad Vincula (Aug. 
1). Parry's Parliaments and Councils of 
England, 1839, p. 105. 

Peter and Paul's, St., Eve and 
Day — (June 28-9). In 14 Edward IV., 
1474-5, it is recorded that ' ' this yere was 
a grete watche upon seint Petres nyght, 
the kyng beyng in the Chepe ; and there 
fill affrey bitwixt men of his household and 
the constablis ; wherfore the kyng was 
gretely displeasid with the constablis." — 
A curioTis entry shewing that Edward had 
come personally and perhaps incognito 
into the City to see the Midsummer bon- 
fires. .4 Clironicle of London, 1827, p. 
145. Kethe, in his Blandford Sermon, 
1570, speaks of the Midsummer rites, 
more usually performed on St. John's Eve, 
being also practised in popish times on 
the eve of SS. Peter and Paul the Apost- 
les ; and Brand himself was informed that 
about half a century prior (or about 1750) 
on this anniversary the Northumbrians 
carried some kind of firebrands about the 
fields of their villages. They made en- 
croachments, on these occasions, upon the 
bonefires of the neighbouring towns, of 
which they took away some of the ashes 
by force : this they called "carrying off 
the ilower (probably the flour) of the 
wake." But in fact these fires are, or 
were very recently, still usual both in the 
West and North of England on this fes- 
tival instead of St. John's Eve ; and a 
correspondent of the Antiquary for 1881 
draws attention to the Cornish practice of 
waving torches over the head. 

Fishermen were supposed to be under 
the special guardianship of St. Peter. In 
" Piers of Fulham," we have : 

" But in stede of sturgen or lamprons, 
He drawyth vp a gurnerd or gogeons : 
Kodlynes, konger, or suche queyse 

fysche, 
As wolwyche roches that be not worth a 

rische. 
Suche fortune often with fischers falle, 
Thoghe they to Petyr botlie pray and 

calle." 
See Midsummer Watch. 

Peterborougrh Bridgfe Fair. 

— Peterborough Bridge Fair, which dates 
back to the days of the abbots, was duly 
proclaimed in 1901 on October 1. At noon 
a procession of the town council, headed 
by the mayor's sergeant and javelin men, 
marched to the bridge which divides Nor- 



thamptonshire from Huntingdonshire, 
and there the fair was solemnly pro- 
claimed, to be held " as well in Northamp- 
tonshire as in Huntingdonshire to-day, 
to-morrow, and the day afterwards." All 
persons were charged ' ' to conduct them- 
selves soberly and civilly, and pay all just 
dues and demands." The civic ofiBcials 
then adjourned to the Fair fields, where 
the words of the charter were repeated, 
and amid a pandemonium of steam organs 
and much chaff from the show people the 
fair was declared open. According to 
custom, the mayor afterwards entertained 
the authorities to a sausage and cham- 
pagne luncheon. 

Petting: Stone. — Hutchinson, 
speaking of a cross near the ruins of the 
church in Holy Island, says: It is "now 
called the Petting Stone. Whenever a 
marriage is solemnized at the church, after 
the ceremony, the bride is to step upon it ; 
and if she cannot stride to the end there- 
of, it is said the marriage will prove 
unfortuna,te." The etymology there given 
is too ridiculous to be remembered : it is 
called petting, lest the bride should take 
pet with her supper. Hist, of Durham, 
i, 32. 

Philosopher's Game. — See 
Nares, Glossary, 1859, in v. 

Phoebe. — The name of an old dance. 
See Hallivvell in v. 

Phoenix.— Philip de Thaun, in his 
Anglo-Norman twelfth-century Bestiary, 
says: "Phoenix is a bird, which is 
very elegant and handsome; it is found 
in Arabia, and is shaped like a swan ; no 
man can seek so far as to find another on 
the earth ; it is only one in the world, 
and is all purple; it lives five hundred 
years and more, Isidore says so (ceo dit 
Ysidorus). When it perceives age coming 
on, it goes and collects twigs, and pre- 
cious spice of good odour ; as leaves it 
takes them, and spreads itself upon them : 
by the sun's ray it takes the pure fire (of 
the heaven) ; voluntarily it spreads its 
wings over them ; these it burns of its own 
will, and is reduced to powder. By the 
fire of the spice, by the good ointment — 
of the heat and humour the powder takes, 
sweetness, and such is its nature, as the 
writing says, on the third day it comes to 
life again." Wright's Popular Treatises 
on Science, 1841, p. 113. This seems a 
curious parallel with the Christian legend 
of the Resurrection. 

Browne tells us : " that there is but one 
Phoenix in the world, which, after many 
hundred years burns herself, and from the 
ashes thereof riseth up another, is a con- 
ceit not new or altogether popular, but 
of great antiquity ; not only delivered by 
humane authors, but frequently expressed 
by holy writers ; by Cyril, Epiphanius and 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



489, 



others, by Ambrose in his Hexameron, 
and lertuUian in his Poem de Judicio 
Domini, and in his excellent Tract de 
Resurrectione Carnis ; all which notwith- 
standing we cannot presume the existence 
of this animalj nor dare we affirm there is 
any Phoenix in Nature. For first there 
wants herein the definitive confirmator 
and text of things uncertain, that is, 
the sense of man. For though many 
writers have much enlarged thereon, there 
is not any ocular desoriber, or such as 
presumeth to confirm it upon aspection ; 
and therefore Herodotus, that led the 
story unto the Greeks, plainly saith, he 
never attained the sight of any, but only 
the picture." The learned author proceeds 
to make Herodotus himself confess that 
the account seems to him improbable, 
Tacitus and Pliny also expi-essmg very 
strong doubts on the subject. Some, he 
says, refer to some other rare bird, the 
Bird of Paradise, &c. He finds the pas- 
sage in Psalms, " Vir Justus ut Phoenix 
florebit," a mistake arising from the 
Greek word Phoenix, which signifies also 
a palm tree. By the same equivoque he 
explains the passage in Job where it is 
mentioned. In a word the unity, long 
life, and generation of this ideal bird are 
all against the existence of it. 

The following passage is curious : " The 
third note is, that our life is but short ; 
the rauen, the Plienix, the hart, lion, and 
the elephant, fulfill their hundreds, but 
man dyeth, when he thinketh yet his sun 

riseth ." Plaine Mans Pihjriinage, by 

W. Webster, 1610, p. 43. 

When the Ashmolean Museum was still 
at Lambeth, in September, 1657, Evelyn 
visited it, and was shown, among other 
curiosities, a feather from the loing of the 
phanix. 

Phosphorus. — See Uaggs. 
Physiognomy. — Agrippa observes 
that "Physiognomy, taking Nature for 
her guide, upon an inspection, and well 
observing the outward parts of the body, 
presumes to conjecture by probable tokens 
at the qualities of the mind and fortune 
of the person ; making one man to be 
Saturnal, another a Jovist, this man to 
be born under Mars, another under Sol, 
some under Venus, some under Mercury, 
some under Luna ; and from the habits of 
the body collects their horoscopes, gliding, 
by little and little, from affections to as- 
trological causes, upon which foundations 
they erect what idle structures they them- 
selves please:" and he adds concerning 
metoposcopie, a species of physiognomy : 
" Metoposcopie, to know all things from 
the sole observation of the forehead, pry- 
ing even into the very beginnings, 
progress, and end of a man's life, with a 
most acute judgement and learned ex- 



perience ; making herself to be like a 
foster-child of astrology." Vanity of 
Arts and Sciences, ed. 1676, p. 100. 

" Physiognomy," says Gaule, "following, 
from the inspection of the whole body, 
presumeth it can by probable signs attain 
to know, what are the affections of body 
and mind, and what a man's fortune shall 
be ; so far forth as it pronounces him 
Saturnial or Jovial : and him Martial or 
Solar : another Venerial, Mercurial, or 
Lunar : and collecting their horoscopes- 
from the habitude of the body, and from 
affections transcending, as they say, by 
little and little, unto causes, namely as- 
trological ; out of which they afterwards 
trifle as they list. Metoposcopy, out of 
a sagacious ingenie and learned ex- 
perience, boasts herself to forsent all the 
beginnings, the progresses, and the ends 
of men, out of tne sole inspection of the 
forehead : making herself also to be the 
pupil of astrologie." He concludes : "We 
need no other reason to impugne the error 
of all these Arts, than this self-same, 
namely, that they are void of all reason." 
Mag-Ast romancer Fosed. 

Indagine in his Palmistry and Physiog- 
nomy records sundry divinations, too 
absurd to be transcribed (I refer the 
modern devotees of Lavater to the work 
itself) on "upright brows" — "Brows 
hanging over" — "playing with the 
bries " — " narrow foreheads " — " faces 
plain and flat" — "lean faces" — "sad 
faces" — "sharp noses" — "ape-like 
noses " — " thick nostrils "— " slender and 
thin lips"— "big mouths," &c., &c. 

Some faint vestiges of these fooleries 
may still be traced in our villages, in the 
observations of rustic old women. 'To 
this head may be referred the obser- 
vation somewhere to be met with, 
I think in one of our dramatic pieces, on 
a rascally-looking fellow: "There's Ty- 
burn in his face without benefit of clergy. "^ 

Shakespear in Macbeth, i, 4, makes 
Duncan speak of the "mind's construction 
in the face," and doubts whether there was- 
such an art. But the opinion of the 
moderns cannot be said to be much in 
favour of this so-called science ; nor has 
it derived additional credit or weight from 
the rather weak and shallow arguments of 
Spurzheim and his allies, the bump- 
olofjists. 

Piccadilly. — Originally a species of 
ruff, wliich became fashionable both for 
men and women in the time of James I. 
and appears on the engraved portraits of 
many celebrated characters of that time, 
although the ruff had been not uncommon 
in the preceding reign. The name ap- 
pears to have subsequently attached itself 
to a tavern and tennis-court in the portion 
of the thoroughfare now so-called, 0111 



490 



NA TIONA L FA ITHS 



which buildings were first erected. In the 
" Honestie of this age," by Barnaby Rich, 
1614, p. 25, is the following allusion to the 
article of dress : ' ' But he that some forty 
or fifty yeares sithens should have asked 
a pickadilly, I wonder who could have 
understood him, or could have told what a 
pickadilly had been^ fish or flesh." But 
Fleoknoe in his Epigrams, 1665, intends 
the resort above mentioned : 

" And their lands to coyn they distil ye, 
And then with the money 
You see how they run ye 
To loose it at Piccadilly." 

Pick. — In the " Gentleman's Maga- 
zine " for January, 1791, are several 
queries on cards. The writer informs us 
that " the common people in a great part 
of Yorkshire invariably call diamonds 
picks. This I take," he says, " to be from 
■the French word piques, spades ; but can- 
not account for its being corruptly applied 
hy them to the other suit." The true 
reason, however, is to be gathered from 
the resemblance the diamond bears to a 
mill-pick, as fusils are sometimes called 
in heraldry. 

Picrous Day. — The late Mr. Couch 
of Bodmin says : ' ' The second Thursday 
hefore Christmas-day is Picrous Day, still 
Tiept^ but with no other distinctive cere- 
monies than a supper and much merry- 
making. The owner of the tin-stream 
■contributes towards this festivity a 
shilling for each man. I would ask parti- 
<^ular attention to the tradition that says 
that this feast is intended to com- 
memorate the discovery of tin by a man 
named ' Picrous.' It would be interesting 
to know from other correspondents, 
whether such a belief is held by tinners 
in other districts. My first impression 
was that the day might take its name 
from the circumstance of a pie forming 
the piece de resistance of the supper ; but 
this explanation is not allowed by tinners, 
Tior sanctioned by the usages of the feast. 
What truth there may be in this tradition 
of the first tinner Picrous, it is now too 
late to discover ; but the notion is worth 
recording. It has occurred to me, 
whether, from some similarity between the 
names (not a close one, I admit), the 
honour of Picrous may not have been 
transferred to St. Piran, usually reputed 
to be the patron-saint of tinners. Many 
more violent transformations than this 
mark the adaptation of heathen customs 
to Christian times. Polwhele says :' The 
tinners of the country hold some holidays 
peculiar to themselves, which may be 
traced up to the days of saintly super- 
■stition. The Jew-whydn, or White Thurs- 
day before Christmas, and St. Piran's 
Day, are deemed sacred in the mining 



districts.' (' Hist, of C vol. i. p. 132, 
note.) In the Blackmoor district, I have 
never seen the slightest recognition of St. 
Piran, who seems to have been, like St. 
Keyne, 'no holy saint ;' and his connection 
with tinning, as given by Polwhele, has 
always been received here as a novel piece 
of information. The Feast of St. Piran is 
on the 5th of March ; to which the nearest 
of our holidays is Friday in Lidc 
(March)." 

Pie Powder, Court of. — Courts 
were granted at fairs, to take notice of all 
manner of causes and disorders committed 
upon the place called pie-powder, because 
justice was done to any injured person, 
before the dust of the fair was off his 
feet. Babbington, in his Observations on 
the Sciences, 1773, observes that "in the 
Burrow Laws of Scotland an alien mer- 
chant is called Pied puldreaux, and like- 
wise ane Parand-man The 

Court of Pipowder is therefore to deter- 
mine disputes between those who resort 
to fairs and these kinds of pedlars, who 
generally attend them. Pied Puldreaux 
in old French signifies a pedlar, who gets 
his livelihood by vending his goods where 
he can, without any fixed residence." Or 
rather perhaps, the Court of Pie Powder 
means the Court of Pedlars. See the sub- 
sequent evidences : "Gif ane stranger mer- 
chand travelland throw the realme, hayand 
na land, nor residence, nor dwelling within 
the schirefdome, hot vaigand fra ane place 
to ane other, puha therefore is called Pied 
Puldreux, or" dustifute," &c. Re^iam 
Majestatem, 1609. So chap. cxl. ibid. 
" Anend ane Fairand-man or Dustifute." 
So again in the table, ibid. " Dustiefuto 
(ane pedder) or cremar, quha hes na cer- 
taine dwelling-place, quhere he maj; dicht 
the dust from his feet," &c. Barrington 
erroneously interpreted "ane farandman" 
as a man who frequents fairs, whereas he 
was what we now term a traveller. 

Pig^eon-Hoies. — This game pro- 
bably resembled the variety of bagatelle 
called bridge. From repeated entries in 
the Chanel- Warden's Accounts of Brent- 
ford, 1620-43, we are left to judge that the 
early game was played with a pair of holes 
only. It seems to have been a favourite 
pastime at Whitsuntide. In The Brothers 
of the Blade, 1641, Corporal Dammee says 
to Serjeant Slice-man : " Thou hadst 
better turne tapster, or if (being a gentle- 
man) thou scornst to be subject to the 
imperious check and command of every 
sordid mechanick, I would wish thee to 
haunt bowling-allyes, and frequent gam- 
ing-houses, where you may live all day 
long upon the rooke on the Bankside, or 
to play at nine-pins or pidgeon-holes in 
Lincolnes-Inne fields." 
"There was," says Mr. Halliwell, "a 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



49 » 



machine with arches for the balls to run 
through," as in fact in the modern game, 
if people choose to play it so. Poor Kobin 
for 1738 refers to pigeon-holes: "In this 
quarter the commendable exercise of nine- 
pins, pigeon-holes, stool-ball, and barley- 
break are much practiced, by reason 
Easter-holidays, Whitsun-holidays, and 
May-day fall in this quarter ; besides the 
landlords holiday, which makes more mirth 
than any of the holidays aforesaid." He 
mentions it again in 1740. See Lysons, 
Etiv. of London, 1st. ed. ii, 55, and comp. 
Troule-in-Madame and Whitsuntide. 

Pig^eons. — Sir John Bramston in his 
Autobiography, mentions a boy's sport, 
which was in vogue in Essex, if not else- 
where, in the time of the early Stuarts. 
He says that, greatly to the annoyance of 
the owners, the country lads (himself in- 
cluded) used to catch their pigeons in the 
winter in an ingenious trap or, as he calls 
it, a thrap, " with corne under a dore, 
which wee tooke off the hinges and propt 
it with a stick, to which we fastened a 
line, which wee putt through a latice in 
a lower rome, where one held the line, 
and we were out of sight : and when the 
pidgeons were under the dore, we gave a 
pull, and the stick comeing away, the 
dore fell on the pidgeons, soe we culled 
at a pull a dosen or more at a fall, and soe 
wee did often." 

Pepys the Diarist, under 27 January, 
1667-8, notices a very different employ- 
ment of this bird: "Comes news from 
Kate Joyce that, if I would see her hus- 
band alive, I must come presently. So 
I to him, and find his breath rattled in 
his throat ; and they did lay pigeons to his 
feet, and all despair of him." Joyce had 
tried to drown himself, and when they 
recovered him, they held him head down- 
ward, to let the water out. 

Pig Running:.— See Halliwell in v. 
Pig's. — It is a common belief in 
Lincolnshire, that when pigs are taken 
from the sow, they must be drawn back- 
wards, if they are expected to do well : 
the sow will then go to the boar before 
Saturday night ; and that they are not to 
be killed when the moon is on the wane, 
for that if they are, the bacon when 
cooked, will waste away. Some country 
people still slit the ears of their pigs to 
prevent them from being be- witched. 

Steevens, in the Gentleman' s Magazine 
for March, 1755 refers to an expression 
much used by the vulgar, wherein the 
sense and words are equallj' obscure : An't 
please the pigs. Pigs is perhaps a cor- 
ruption of pyx, the vessel in which the 
Host is kept in Roman Catholic Countries. 
The expression therefore means no more 
than Deo volente, or as it is translated 
into modern English, " God willing." 



Pilliw^inks or Pyrewinks. — The 

following is from Cowel's " Interpreter, 
1607:" "Johannes Masham et ThomaS' 
Bote de Bury, die Lunse proximo ante 
Festum Apostolorum Symonis et Judse, 
anno regni Henrici Quarti post Conques- 
tum tertio, malitia et conspiratione inter 
eos inde priehabitis, quondam Robertum 
Smyth de Bury ceperunt infra predictam 
villam, et ipsum infra domum dioti 
Johannis Masham in ferro posuerunt, et 
cum cordis ligaverunt, et super polliees 
ipsius jRoberti quoddam instrumentum 
vocatum Pryewinkes ita stricte et dure 
posuerunt, quod Sanguis eocivit de digitise 
illius." Ex. Cartular. Abbatise Sancti 
Bdmundi, MS. fol. 341. This was a form 
of torture at one time applied to witches 
in Scotland. 

Pillory.— See Nares, Glos. 1859, in v. 
and Hazlitt's Proverbs, 1882, p. 149, where 
it is questioned whether the popular ex- 
pressions, "from pillar to post" and 
"from post to pillory" do not equally 
signify " from whipping-post to pillory," 
and Douce's "Illustrations of Shakes- 
peare," vol. i. p. 146. 

" At Pavia a singular custom prevails. 

To protect the poor debtor from bailifis 
and jails : 

He discharges his score without paying 
a jot. 

By seating himself on a stone, sans^ 
culotte. 

There solemnly swearing, as honest men 
ought. 

That he's poorer than Job, when re- 
duced to a groat : 

Yet this naked truth with such stigma 
disgraces. 

That the rogue, as on Nettles sits, 
making wry faces." 

— Epistles addressed to Rob. Jephson, 
Esq., 1794, p. 46. Besides the familiar 
mode of punishment, there was the usual 




FINGER PILLORT. 



and perhaps even more painful one of 
enclosing one or more fingers of the victim 
in a machine, which is figured in Wright's 
Archrrolngieol Alh-iivx, 1845, p. Ill, from 



49? 

an original in the Church of Ashby-de-la- 
Zouch, Leicestershire. This form re- 
sembles the stocks. 

In mediseval London keepers of brothels, 
men or women, procurers and procuresses, 
adultresses and their paramours, priests 
found in the company of women of bad 
character, and common courtezans, were 
•conducted to the pillory, escorted by the 
.minstrels or city waits — a sort of official 
Skimmington. An excellent account of 
tthe pillory from ancient times in its 
various forms and stages of development 
jnay be found in Fosbrooke, Encyclopedia, 
1843, p. 345. There is slight doubt that 
the original Greek type was a pillar, to 
which the culprit was secured. 



NATIONAL FAITHS 




Pimenti — A beverage formerly much 
in vogue. See Halliwell in v. 

Pin-Drinking.— There was a custom 
which was called pin-drinking, or nick 
the pin, and which is thus explained in 
Cocker's Dictionary: "An old way of 
drinking exactly to a pin in the midst of 
a wooden cup, which being somewhat 
difficult, occasioned much drunkenness : 
so a law was made that priests, monks, 
and friars, should not drink to or at the 
pins." It is certainly difficult to say what 
law this was, unless it has been confounded 



g 

custom differently alluded to in "Gazophy- 
lacium Anglicanum," 1689, where the 
expression " He is on a merry pin," is 
said to have arisen ' ' from a way of drink- 
ing in a cup in which a pin was stuck, and 
he that could drink to the pin, i.e. neither 
under nor over it, was to have the wager." 

" Such great drinkers," says Strutt, 
" were the Danes, (who were in England 
in the time of Edgar,) and so much did 
their bad examples prevail with the Eng- 
lish, that he, by the advice of Dunstan, 
archbishop of Canterbury, put down many 
ale-houses, suffering only one to be in a 
village, or small town : and he also further 
ordained that gold or silver pins or nails 
should be fastened into the drinking cups 
and horns, at stated distances, that no 
one for shame's sake might drink beyond 
these or oblige his fellow to do so." See 
Drinking Usages and Supernaculum. 

Pin, To Give the. — This was a cus- 
tom which, in Brockett's time (1825) had 
become obsolete. See his North Country 
Glossary in v. 

Pins and Points.— In the Jlistory 
of Tom Thum'b, 1630, this form of juvenile 
speculation is coupled with counters and 
cherry-stones : 

Then, like a lustie gallant he 

yXdventured forth to goe 

With other children in the streets, 

His pretty trickes to show. 

Where he for counters, pins and points, 

And cherry-stones did play, 

Till he amongst those gamesters young 

Had lost his stock away. 

Boys, in the time of Elizabeth and her 
successor, used this medium for their 
amusement. The author of the poem puts 
into the hands of Tom the toys of his own 
young contemporaries. 

Pious Uses of Early Secular 
Worlcs and Undertaicinss. — See 

Jusserand, Lcs Anglais au moyen dge, 
1884, ch. 1. The writer refers to the 
dedication to saints of the ancient bridge- 
chapels. 

Piper, Tom the. — There is a 
curious passage about this character in 
the Morris-Dance, in a tract by Breton : 
" In the parish of Saint Asse, at the signe 
of the Hobbi-horse, Maid Marian and the 
Foole fell together by the eares with the 
Piper ; so that, had not the good-man of 
the Pewter Candlesticke set in for the 
Morris-dance, the May-game had beene 
quite spoyled : but when the game had 
gone round, and their braines were well 
warmed, their legges grew so nimble that 
their heeles went higher then their heads : 
but in all this cold sweate, while lusty guts 
and his best beloued were casting sheepes- 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



^493 

in "Piers Plowman," &c. stands for the 
Devil. 

There is a well known South of England 
proverb : " The good horse must smell to 
a pixy ;" which means, that an intelligent 
animal ought to be able to discern the 
approach of a bog or marshy piece of 
ground, by the pixy or ignis fatuus visible 
above it. Hazlitt's Proverbs, 1882, p. 384. 
This seems to identify the pixy of Devon- 
shire and Cornwall with the will-o'the- 
wisp, and is one more step towards the 
reduction to a dead scientific level of our 
superstitions and traditions founded on 
the old fairy mythology. There is much 
in common between will-o-the-wisp and 
Robin Goodfellow ; but neither of these 
fanciful embodiments appears to have been 
familiar to the early Devonians and Cornu- 
bians, who applied to all preternatural 
beings this generic term pixy or spirit. 
The pixies of Cornwall and Devon seem to 
have a good deal in common with Robin. 
A valuable contributor to " Notes and 
Queries," who uses the initials H. G. T. 
sent to that periodical some curious par- 
ticulars, which tally very much with the 
attributes given to Robin in the " Mad 
Pranks," &c. 1628, and elsewhere. See 
Cornish Pixies supra. 

Plaisterer. — See Hazlitt's Livery 
Companies, 1892. p. 590, where the trade 
is traced back to 1317 : but it most pro- 
bably existed much earlier. 

Planetary Houses. — Lodge thus 
glances at the superstitious " follower of 
the planetary houses :" — " And he is so 
busie in finding out the houses of the 
planets, that at last he is either faine to 
house himselfe in an hospitall, or take up 
his inne in a prison. . . . His name is 
Curiositie, who not content with the 
studies of profite and the practise of 
commendable sciences, setteth his mind 
wholie on astrologie, negromancie, and 
magicke. This Divel prefers an Ephi- 
merides before a Bible ; and his Ptolemey 
and Hali before Ambrose, golden Chriso- 
stome, or S. Augustine : promise him a 
familier, and he will take a flie in a box 
for good paiment. . . . He will shew you 
the Devill in a christal, calculate the 
nativitie of his gelding, talke of nothing 
but gold and silver, elixir, calcination, 
augmentation, citrination, commentation, 
and swearing to enrich the world in a 
month, he is not able to buy himself a 
new cloake in a whole year. Such a divell 
I knewe in my dales, that having sold all 
his land in England to the benefite of the 
coosener, went to Antwerpe with protes- 
tation to enrich Monsieur the King's 
brother of France, le feu Roy Harie I 
meane ; and missing his purpose, died 
miserably in spight at Hermes in Flush- 
ing. ... He (Despair) persuades the 



eyes at a Cods head, Hue and Cry came 
suddenly thorow the streete The Foxe hath 
killed a tame goose. At the sudden noise 
whereof the multitude were so scared, that 
all the morris-dancers were divided, and 
the Foole ran home to your towne." Post 
with a Packet of Mad Letters, 1602, un- 
dated ed. p. 58. 

Among Lysons' extracts there is one 
entry which shows that the piper was 
sent (probably to make collections) round 
the country. Tollett says, to prove No. 9 
to be Tom the Piper, Steevens has very 
happily quoted these lines from Drayton's 



happily ( 
"Idea," 



1593: 



"Myself above Tom Piper to advance. 
Who so bestirs him in the Morris Dance 
For penny wage." 

His tabour, tabour-stick, and pipe, attest 
his profession ; the feather in his cap, his 
sword, and the lower flap of his stomacher, 
may denote him to be a squire-minstrel, 
or a minstrel of the superior order. In 
Urry's " Chaucer " 1721, it is said : "Min- 
strels used a red hat." Tom Piper's bon- 
net is red, faced, or turned up with yellow, 
his doublet blue, the sleeves blue, turned 
up with yellow, something like red muf- 
fettees at his wrists, over his doublet is a 
red garment, like a short cloak with arm- 
holes and with a yellow cape, his hose red, 
and garnished across and perpendicularly 
on the thighs, with a narrow yellow lace. 
His shoes are brown. 

Pitchering;.. — In Craven, there is a 
custom known as pitchering. The author 
of^ the " Dialect of Craven," 1828, des- 
cribes it thus : " One of the young inmates 
of the family takes a small pitcher and 
half fills it with water ; he then goes, 
attended by his companions, and present- 
ing it to the lover, demands a present 
in money. If he (the lover) is disposed 
to give any thing, he drops his con- 
tribution into the pitcher, and they retire 
without further molestation. He is thus 
made a free-man and can quietly pay his 
visits in future, without being subject to 
any similar exaction. But, if after re- 

Eeated demands, the lover refuse to pay 
is contribution, he is either saluted with 
the contents of the pitcher, or a general 
row ensues, in which the water is spilled, 
and the pitcher is broken." 

Pitching'-pence. — A payment for- 
merly made at fairs on every bag of 
corn, &c. 

Pixy. — Brand thought pixy to be a 
corruption of puckes — a plausible idea 
enough but without any philological 
authority. Neither Nares, nor Halliwell, 
nor Wedgwood, however, suggests any 
better or other derivation. Puck itself 
is simply A. S. pouke, a spirit; the pouke 



494 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



merchant not to traflBque, because it is 
given him in his nativity to have loss by 
sea; and not to lend, least he never re- 
ceive again." Wits Miserie, 1596, pp. 
11-12, 95. 

Gaule asks, "Where is the source and 
root of the superstition of vain obser- 
vation, and the more superstitious 
ominations thereupon to be found, save in 
those arts and speculations that teach to 
observe creatures, images, figures, signes, 
and accidents, for constellational ; and, (as 
they call them,) second stars ; and so to 
ominate and presage upon them, either 
as touching themselves, or others? as, 
namely, to observe dayes for lucky or un- 
lucky, either to travail, sail, fight, build, 
marry, plant, sow, buy, sell, or begin any 
businesse in." Mag-astromancers posed, 
p. 181. 

Werenfels says, speaking of a super- 
stitious man : ' ' He will be more afraid of 
the constellation-fires, than the flame of 
his next neighbour's house. He will not 
open a vein till he has asked leave of the 
planets. He will avoid the sea whenever 
Mars is in the middle of heaven, lest that 
warrior God should stir up pirates against 
him. In Taurus he will plant his trees, 
that this sign, which the astrologers are 
pleased to call fix'd, may fasten them 

deeper in the earth He will make 

use of no herbs but such as are gathered 
in the planetary hour. Against any sort 
of misfortune he will arm himself with a 
ring, to which he has fixed the benevolent 
aspect of the stars, and the lucky hour that 
was just at the instant of flying away, but 
which, by a wonderful nimbleness, he has 
seized and detained." Dissert, on Super- 
stitions, 1747, p. 6. 

Plays on Sundays. — Plays appear 
to have been acted publicly and at Court 
on Sundays and holidays, but rather by 
sufferance than in conformity with law. 
The Corporation of Ijondon viewed drama- 
tic exhibitions on the Sabbath and on 
holy feast-days with an especially un- 
favourable eye. Measures were con- 
tinually taken for suppression of these 
amusements ; but the offenders probably 
found them sufficiently lucrative to in- 
duce them to run the risk of evading the 
orders of the Common or Privy Council. 
The performance of masques at Court 
was not vinusual during the reigns of 
Elizabeth and James I. The presenta- 
tion of Davenant's Britannia Triumphans 
on a Sunday in 1637 made a great stir, 
owing to the growth of Puritanism. The 
author of the Stage Condemned, 1689, 
thought this circumstance very remark- 
able, not being perhaps aware, how 
common the practice had formerly been. 
Pledging'. — The word pledge is, ac- 
cording to Blount, derived from the 



French " pleige," a surety or gago. 
Howell, in a very excellent and long 
letter to the Earl of Clare about 1650, 
observes : ' ' The word pleiger is also to 
drink after one is drunk to ; whereas 
the first true sense of the word was, that 
if the party drunk to was not disposed 
to drink himself, he would put another 
for a pledge to do it for him, else the party 
who began would take it ill." 

To pledge, in the sense of to gage or 
bind, does not seem to have always been 
understood in this sense, however, if we 
are to interpret as a security handed to 
the lender of money by the debtor the 
following passage in an ancient English 
poem, of which a fragment, (all that is 
known) is printed by Maitland in his 
Account of the Early Books at Lambeth : 

" Syr he sayd be saynte Edmounde 

Me they owe three pounde 

And od two shyllynge 

A stycke I haue to wytnes 

Of hasyll I wene it is 

I haue no other thynge — " 

In the tale of " King Edward and the 
Shepherd," printed by Hartshorne, 1829, 
in his " Ancient Metrical Tales," the 
pledging words employed are passilodion 
and berafrynde, which are evidently of the 
same burlesque character as the conjuring 
phrases introduced into the " King and 
the Hermit," and, at a later period, into 
Marlowe's " Faustus," written before 
1593. See also the "Fabliaux" of M. 
Le Grand, tom. i. p. 119, and his " His- 
toire de la Vie privee des Frangois," tom. 
iii. p. 270. The custom of pledging is to 
be found in the ancient romance of "Ogier 
le Danois," where Charlemagne pledges 
himself for Ogier. See Tressan, "Corps 
d'Extraits des Romans de Chevalerie," 
tom. ii. p. 77. 

In Nash's "Pierce Pennilesse," 1592, 
we read : " You do me the disgrace, if you 
doo not pledge me as much as I drinke 
to you." John Hey wood has the following 
line : 

" I drinke (Quoth she,) Quoth he, I will 
not pledge." 

Works, edit. 1598, sign F 4. Overbury, 
in his " Characters," speaking of a serv- 
ing-man, says: "He never drinks but 
double, for he must be pledged ; nor 
commonly without some short sentence 
nothing to the purpose : and seldom ab- 
stains till he comes to a thirst." Another 
old writer has the following passage : 
" Truely I thinke hereupon comes the 
name of good fellow, quasi goad fellow, 
because he forceth and goads his fellowes 
forward to be drunke with his persuasive 
termes as I drunke to you pray pledge 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



m 

anciently called Plough Monday, when our 
Northern ploughmen begged plough- 
money to drink. In Tusser's " Hus- 
bandry," 1580, under the account of the 
Plougifiman's Feast Days are the following 
lines : 

" Plough Munday, next after that 

Twelf-tide is past, 
Bids out with the Plough ; the worst 

husband is last : 
If Plowman get hatchet, or whip to the 

skrene. 
Maids loseth their cocke, if no water be 

seen :" 

which are thus explained in Hilman's 
" Tusser Redivivus," 1710 : " After 
Christmas (which formerly, during the 
twelve days, was a time of very little 
work) every gentleman feasted the far- 
mers, and every farmer their servants and 
task men. Plough Monday puts them in 
mind of their business. In the morning 
the men and the maid servants strive who 
shall show their diligence in rising 
earliest. If the ploughman can get his 
whip, his plough-staff, hatchet, or any- 
thing that he wants in the field, by the 
fire-side, before the maid hath got her 
kettle on, then the maid loseth her Shrove- 
tide cock, and it wholly belongs to the 
men. Thus did our forefathers strive to 
allure youth to their duty, and provided 
them innocent mirth as well as labour. 
On this Plough Monday they have a good 
supper and some strong drink." Coles 
tells us: "in some places, if the 
ploughman ("after that day's work) come 
with his whip to the kitchen hatch, and 
cry ' cock in pot ' before the maid can 
cry ' cock on the dunghill,' he gains a 
cock for Shrove-Tuesday." 

In Tusser we find the ploughman's 
feasting days or holidays thus enu- 
merated : 1. Plough Monday. 2. 
Shrove Tuesday, when, after confession, 
he is suffered " to thresh the fat 
hen." 3. Sheep-shearing, with wafers 
and cakes. 4. Wake Day, or the vigil of 
the church saint of the village, with flawns 
or pancakes. 5. Harvest-home, with a 
goose. 6. Seed-cake, a festival kept at the 
end of Wheat-sowing, when he is to be 
feasted with seed-cakes, pasties, and fur- 
menty pot. No. 1 is peculiar to Leicester- 
shire ; 2, to Essex and Suffolk ; 3, to 
Northampton ; 4, to Leicestershire ; 6, to 
Essex and Suffolk. We learn further 
from Tusser, that ploughmen were accus- 
tomed to have roast meat twice a week ; 
viz. Sundays and Thursdays, at night. 
See edit. 1597, p. 137. 

In a marginal note to Roiley's "Poetical 
Relation of the Gleanings of the Idiotis- 
mes and Absurdities of Miles Corbet 
Esquire," 1646, p. 6, we are told that the 

HH 



me, you dishonour me, you disgrace mee, 
and with such like woras, doth urge his 
consorts forwaixi to be drunke, as oxen 
being prickt with goads, are compel'd and 
forced to draw the maine." 

There is a remarkable passage in one 
of the sermons of Samuel Ward of Ips- 
wich, 1627: "My Saviour began to mee 
in a bitter cup, and shall I not pledge 
him;" i.e. drink the same. Feltham, 
describing a Dutch feast, tells us : "At 
those times it goes hard with a stranger, 
all in curtesie will be drinking to him, 
and all that do so he must pledge : till he 
doth, the fiU'd cups circle round his tren- 
cher, from; whence they are not taken 
away till emptyed." Brief Character of 
the Low Countries, 1654, p. 57. 

Plat gives a recipe to prevent drunken- 
ness, ' ' for the help of such modest 
drinkers, as only in company are drawn, 
or rather forced to pledge in full bolls 
such quaffing companions as they would 
be loth to offend, and will require reason 
at their hands, as they term it." Jewel- 
House of Art and Nature, 1594, p. 59. 
Hey wood informs us that " Divers 
authors report of Alexander, that, carous- 
ing one day with twenty persons in his 
company, hee dranke healths to every man 
round, and pledged them severally againe : 
and as he was to rise, Calisthenes the 
Sophist coming into the banquetting 
house, the king offered him a deepe 
quaffing-bowle, which he modestly refused, 
for which, being taxed by one there pres- 
ent, hee said aloud, I desire not, Oh 
Alexander, to receive a pledge from thee, 
by taking which I shall be presently in- 
forced to inquire for a physition." Philo- 
cothonista, 1635, p. 12. 

Plous'h, Fool. — In " Dives and 
Pauper," 1493, among superstitions cen- 
sured we find the following : " ledyng of 
the ploughe aboute the fire as for gode 
begynnynge of the yere, that they shulde 
fare the better alle the yere foUowyng." 
In Bale's " Yet a Course at the Romyshe 
Foxe," 1542, the author declares: "than 
ought my lorde (Bonner) to suffre the 
same selfe ponnyshment for not sensing 
the plowghess on Plowgh Monday e." 

Plough Ligrht. — There was a light 
in many churches called the plow light, 
maintained by old and young persons who 
were husbandmen, before some image ; 
who on Plough Monday had a feast, and 
went about with a plough, and some dan- 
cers to supnort it. Blomefield's Norfolk, 
iv, 207. This pageant or dance, as used 
at present, seems a composition made up 
of the gleaning of several obsolete customs, 
followed anciently, here and elsewhere, on 
this and the like festive occasions. 

Ploug-h-Monday. — The Monday 
after Twelfth Day (as Coles tells us) was 



496 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Monday after Twelfth Day is called 
" Plowlick Monday by the husbandmen in 
Norfolk, because on that day they doe 
first begin to plough." In the " British 
Apollo," 1710, number 92, the following 
explanation occurs: "Plough Monday is 
a country phrase, and only used by pea- 
sants, because they generally used to meet 
together at some neighbourhood over a 
cup of ale, and feast themselves, as well 
to wish themselves a plentiful harvest 
from the great corn sown (as they called 
wheat and rye) as also to wish a God-speed 
to the plough as soon as they begin to 
break the ground to sow barley and other 
corn, which they at that time make a 
holiday to themselves as a finishing stroke 
after Christmas, which is their master's 
holyday time, as prentices in many places 
make it the same, appropriated by consent 
to revel amongst themselves." 

Pegge, in the " Gentleman's Maga- 
zine " for December, 1762, informs us : 
" On this day the young men yoke them- 
selves and draw a plough about with 
musick, and one or two persons in antic 
dresses, like Jack-Puddings, go from 
house to house to gather money to drink. 
If you refuse them they plough up your 
dunghill. We call them in Derbyshire the 
Plough Bullocks." Macaulay says : "On 
Plow-Monday I have taken notice of an 
annual display of morris-dancers at Clay- 
brook, who come from the neighbouring 
villages of Sapcote and Sharnford." Kist. 
of Clayhrook, 1791, p. 128. 

In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. 
Margaret's, Westminster, 1494, is the 
following: "Item of the Brotherhood of 
Rynsyvale for the plowgere £0 4s. Od." 
In similar accounts for Wigtoft, Lincoln- 
shire, 1575, is "Receid of Wyll". Clarke 
& John Waytt, of the plougadrin 
£1 Os. Od." There is a custom in this 
neighbourhood of the ploughmen parading 
on Plow Monday ; but what little they 
collect is applied wholly to feasting them- 
selves. They out themselves in grotesque 
habits, with ribands, &o. It appears that 
the " sign," on which the plough used on 
these occasions stood, was charged to the 
parish sixteenpence or thereabouts in the 
reign of Edward VI. In the Church- 
wardens' Accounts of Heybridge near 
Maiden, Essex, is the following account, 
" Item receyved of the gadryng of the 
white plowe £0 Is. 3d." To which this 
note is affixed : " Q. does this mean Plough 
Monday : on which the country people 
come and dance and make a gathering as 
on May-Day?" 

There is a long and elaborate account 
in the "Book of Days" of this rustic 
festival, and in " Notes and Queries " for 
May 19, 1860, Cuthbort Bede alludes to 
the custom as then kept up in Hunting- 



donshire. It is still customary for the 
Lord Mayor of London to entertain the 
officers of the Corporation at a banqviet 
on Plough Monday. 

In a recent London newspaper oc- 
curred the subjoined paragraph : Yester- 
day, in accordance with an annual 
custom on Plough Monday (being the 
Monday following the Feast of the 
Epiphany), a Court of Wardmote was 
held at the Guildhall, the Lord Mayor 
presiding. The results of the election of 
members of the Court of Common Council 
and ward officers on St. Thomas's-day last 
were officially reported to the court, and 
the ward beadles attended and made the 
usual declarations on re-appointment. 
With that the proceedings, which -were of 
a formal character throughout, ended. 
In the evening the Lord Mayor and Lady 
Mayoress entertained the members of 
their household, several of the Corporation 
officials, and a few private friends, at 
dinner at the Mansion-house. The guests 
numbered about 30. The dinner was 
served in the Venetian Parlour. 

Among the ancients the " Compitalia 
were feasts instituted, some say, by 
Tarquinius Prisons, in the month of 
January, and celebrated by servants alone, 
when their plowing was over." Sheridan's 
Persius, edit. 1739, p. 67, note. 

Pluck a Crow/ or Goose, to. — 
In the Towneley Mysteries, ed. 1836, p. 15, 
the phrase is: "to pulle a crawe." The 
subsequent occurs in Heywood : 

" He loveth well sheeps flesh, that wets 
his bred in the wull 

If he leave it not, we have a crow to 
pull." 
A jealous wife is speaking concerning 
certain liberties which her husband is 
always taking with her maid. Works, 
ed. 1598, sign. G 4. Howell has in a 
similar sense: "I have a goose to pluck 
with you." Comp. Hazlitt's Proverbs, 
1882, p. 443. 

Pluckbuffet. — A sport with bows 
and arrows, where the archer, who missed' 
the garland or white, received a buffet on 
his head on being plucked. It is mentioned 
in the Robin Hood ballads. See Hazlitt's 
Tales and Legeiuh, 1892, p. 321. 

Plum Porridge. — Both plum- 
porridge and Christmas pies are noticed 
in the following passage in Needham's 
" History of the Rebellion," 1661 :— 

"All plums the prophet's sons defy, 
And spice-broths are too Iiot ; 
Treason's in a December pye. 
And death within the pot. 
Christmas, farewell ; thy days I fear 
And merry days are done : 
So they may keep feasts all the year. 
Our Saviour shall have none. 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



497 



Gone are those golden days of yore, 
When Christmas was a high day : 
Whose sports we now shall see no more ; 
'Tis turn'd into Good Friday." 

Mr. Brand notes : I dined at the 
Chaplain's table at St. James's on 
Christmas Day, 1801, and partook of 
the first thing served up and eaten 
on that festival at table^ i.e. a tureen of 
rich luscious plum-porndge. I do not 
know that the custom is anywhere else 
retained. 

One of the adventures of Bamfylde 
Moore Carew was to cry Plumb-Pudding, 
hot Plumh-Pudding , piping-hot, smoak- 
ing-hot, hot Plumh-Pudding , up and down 
the streets of Bristol in female attire in 
the midst of the press-gang, the members 
of which bought his commodities. Life 
and Adventures, 1745, p. 52-3. 

Plymouth Fishing: Feast. — This 
was held in 1903 with the accustomed 
ceremonies at the Burrator reservoir, in 
the Dartmoor hills, which is famed for its 
trout. The mayor and corporation and a 
number of guests, having arrived at this 
spot, observed the ancient custom of toast- 
ing the memory of Francis Drake, who, 
three centuries ago, first brought the water 
into Plymouth. The mayor first drank to 
the pious memory of Sir Francis in a 
goblet of pure water from the reservoir, 
and then passed the vessel round. After- 
ward another goblet, filled with wine, 
was presented to the mayor, who drank to 
the toast: " May the descendants of him 
who brought us water never want wine." 

Policninelio or Punchinello 

The original of the modern Punch and 
Judy. The exhibition is supposed to be 
of Italian origin and to have had a, poli- 
tical or historical significance. It seems 
to be first mentioned as a licensed insti- 
tution in London in 1666, when the 
parochial authorities of St. Martin's in 
the Fields received from Punchinello the 
Italian puppet-player for his booth at 
Charing Cross £2 12s. 6d., which bespeaks 
a lucrative enterprize. But Pepys saw 
the show in Moorfields August 22, same 
year ; April 8, 1667, he does not mention 
where; and August 31, 1668, at Bartholo- 
mew Fair. Brewer's Diet, of Phrase and 
Fahle. art. Punch; Hazlitt's 3fnnu(il of 
Old Plays, 1892, p. 187; and Pepys under 
dates mentioned. On the top of the large 
room built by Sir Samuel Morland in his 
garden at Vauxhall was a Punchinello, 
holding a dial. 

Polo. — A form of quintain practised 
in Persia and other eastern countries as 
far back as the 11th century. In the 
Field newspaper for 1872-3 and 1885 ap- 
peared some interesting archseological 
notices of it, and iu the num*ier for Oct. 



1 17, 1885, Mr. E. H. Parry furnished the 
subjoined extract from the Travels of the 
three Sherleys about 1610 in Persia : 
" Before the house there was a very fair 
place to the quantity of some ten acres of 
ground, made very plain ; so the king went 
down, and when he had taken his horse 
the drums and trumpets sounded. There 
were twelve horsemen in all with the king, 
so they divided themselves, six on the one 
side and six on the other, having in their 
hands long rods of wood, about the thick- 
ness of a man's finger, and at one end of 
the rods a piece of wood nailed on like 
unto a hammer. After they were divided 
and turned face to face, there came one 
into the middle, and threw a wooden ball 
between both the companies, and having 
goals made at either end of the plain, 
they begun their sport, striking the ball 
with their rods from one end to the other, 
in the fashion of our football play here 
in England ; and even when the king had 
gotten the ball before him, the drums and 
trumpets would play one alarm, and many 
times the king would come to Sir Antony 
to the window, and ask him how he did 
like the sport." 

The game is at present regularly played 
at Barn Elms, Surrey, by the members of 
the Ranelagh Club. 

Water-polo seems to have been known 
and exercised at Venice in the thirteenth 
century, and the arsenal subsequently 
kept two large rafts or pontoons for this 
purpose to be delivered to the .urban 
authorities from time to time, and then 
returned into store. 

Ponipey, the Black Dog:.— For 
a brief account of this nursery phantom 
in some parts of the country, the reader 
may be referred to Hazlitt's Prorerhs, 
1882, p. 331. 

Poor Boxes. — Aubrey, in his Natu- 
ral History of Wiltshire, ed. 1847, 
observes : " Mr. A. Wood assures me that 
there were no almshouses, at least they 
were very scarce, before the Reformation ; 
that over against Christ Church, Oxon, is 
one of the ancientest. In every church 
was a poor man's box, but I never re- 
membered the use of it ; nay, there was 
one at great inns, as I remembered it was 
before the wars. These were the days 
when England was famous for the grey 
goose quills." Corap. Thrift-Box. 

In the time of the Commonwealth the) e 
was in the Houses of Parliament a pooi- 
box, into which members put their fines 
for offences against the rules or against 
decorum, among the latter being that of 
climbing over the benches. Parry's 
Parliaments and C'o}incih of England, 
1839, under years 1640-61. 

Pope Lady. —-It is remarkable 
enough that at St. Albans, as recently 



498 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



as 1861, a correspondent of " Notes and 
Queries," purchased a "pope lady," a 
bun made in the form of a woman, and 
sold on the morning of the New Year. 

Pope Julius's Game. — This was a 
game, at which four, and possibly more, 
persons could play. It is mentioned in 
the Privy Purse Expenses of Henry VIII. 
and apparently nowhere else : therefore 
the precise nature of the game cannot be 
determined. It seems to have been un- 
known to Strutt, Brand, Douce, Nares and 
all other antiquaries. In the King's Ex- 
penses for 1532 are four references to 
money lost at it by Henry ; the earliest 
is in these terms: " Itm the xx daye 
November delive'd to the king grace at 
Stone whiche his grace loste at pope 
Julius game to my lady marques, m. 
BryaUj and maister Weston .... xiili. 
vis. viijd." So that, at any rate, it was a 
costly novelty ; and during the same month 
"the king's grace" lost upwards of £30 
more at this diversion. We do not hear 
of him playing any more ; but that may 
arise from the absence of accounts. The 
pope alluded to would be probably Julius 
II. of the Delia Rovere family of Urbino. 

Popinjay. — In a letter to Henry 
VIII. from Lord Mountjoy, Captain of 
Tovirnay, in 1514, it is stated that there 
was an annual custom on the 2nd of March 
of shooting at the popinjay by a frater- 
nity of St. George and that for the current 
year the provost or mayor of Tournay had 
acted as his deputy. The provost hit the 
mark and " soo," writes his lordship, "is 
yo' grace king of the popyngay for this 
yere." But he adds that if the king's 
representative should succeed a second 
time, Henry would become Emperor of the 
same, " Wherunto ther longgithe many 
gret roialties." This ceremony or sport 
was, no doubt, an artificial parrot. 
Excerpta Historica, 1833, p. 286. 

Porpentine. — i.q. porcupine. See 
Nares, 1859, in v. 

Portents.— The following is a pas- 
sage in Stubbes' " Anatomie of Abuses," 
1583. He is relating the dreadful end of 
a swearer in Lincolnshire: "At the last 
the people perceiving his ende to ap- 
proche, caused the bell to toUe; who 
hearing the bell toll for him rushed up in 
his bed very vehemently." Howell, in a 
letter to Sir Kenelm Digby, dated 1640, 
implies that a turnip cut in the shape of 
a death's-head with a caudle, was regarded 
by women and children as an evil portent. 
Defoe observes : ' ' Nothing is more con- 
trary to good sense than imagining every 
thing we see and hear is a prognostick 
either of good or evil, except it be the 
belief that nothing is so." Memoirs of 
Duncan Camphel, 1732, p. 60. He testi- 



fies to the belief which in his day people 
entertained in "men on horseback, 
mountains, ships, forests, and other fine 
things in the air," as foreshadowing 
future events. Defoe mentions that, 
" Others again, by having caught cold, 
feel a certain noise in their heads, which 
seems to them like the sound of distant 
bells, and fancy themselves warned of 
some great misfortune." Grose says that 
"A person being suddenly taken with a 
shivering, is a sign that some one has just 
then walked over the spot of their future 
grave. Piobably all persons are not sub- 
ject to this sensation, otherwise the 
inhabitants of those parishes whose burial 
grounds lie in the common foot-path 
would live in one continued fit of shak- 
ing." Johnson, in his "Tour to the 
Hebrides," says, that Macaulay was in- 
duced to leave out of his "History of St. 
Kilda," a passage stating that the in- 
habitants were apt at the approach of a 
stranger, to catch cold. See Divinations, 
Omens, &c. 

Another description of portents is that, 
which is described by Holinshed in con- 
nection with the historical murder of 
Arden or Ardern of Paversham in 1551-2 : 
' ' This one thing seemeth strange and 
notable touching maister Arden, that in 
the place where he was layd being dead, 
all tne proportion of his body might be 
seene two years after and more, as playne 
as could be ; for the grasse did not growe 
where his body hadde touched, but be- 
tweene his legges, betweene his armes and 
about the holowness of his necke, and 
round about his body ; and where his 
legges, armes, head, or any part of his 
body had touched, no grasse growed at 
all that time ; so that many strangers 
came in the meane time beside the Townes- 
men to see the print of his body there on 
the ground in that field . . ." 

Portions, Wedding:. — There are 
two instances in the " Privy Purse Ex- 
penses of the Princess Mary," under 
April, 1537, and April, 1538-9, of the 
princess contributing to the wedding- 
portions of poor girls. The earlier entry 
runs thus: " It'm geven to a pore may- 
denes mariage by my ladies grace at the 
request of Mr. Tyrrell . . . vijs. vjrf." 
In the second case, Mary gave only 
3s. 4d. 

In the " Second Part of Queen Eliza- 
beths Troubles," by T. Heywood, 1606, 
the author introduces Laxly Ramsey, 
saying : 

" 1 have known old Hobson 

Sit with his neighbour Gunter, a good 

man. 
In Christs Church, morn by morn, to 

watch poor coiiples 
That come there to be married, and to be 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



499 



Their common fathers, and give them 

in the church, 
And some few angels for a dower to 

boot." 

Morant, speaking of Great Yeldham in 
Hinckford Hundred, Essex, says: "A 
house near the church was antiently used 
and appropriated for dressing a dinner 
for poor folks when marrietl : and had all 
utensils and furniture convenient for that 
purpose. It hath since been converted 
into a school." Again, speaking of 
Matching in Harlow Half-Hundred, he 
says: " A house close to the church yard, 

said to be built by one Chimney, 

was designed for the entertainment of 
poor people on their wedding day. It 
seems to be very antient but ruinous." 

Posies. — These were invented for 
rings, handkerchiefs, &c., and collections 
of them were printed in the first half 
of the 17th century. They are also to be 
found inscribed on early knives, whence 
the mottoes are described by Shakespear 
as " cutler's poetry." Those engraved on 
rings were adapted to the requirements 
or fancies of lovers or friends. They 
present themselves on rings given by men 
to their mistresses and by the latter to 
the objects of their preference. An early 
garland of the kind above specified fur- 
nishes in its descriptive title the range of 
these amatory compliments. The most 
ancient impression which has fallen under 
my notice is one of 1642 : — 

Cupids posies 

For Bracelets, handkerchers, and rings. 

With scarves, gloves, and other things. 

Written by Cupid on a day. 

When Cupid gave me leave to play. 

The lover sheweth his intent 

By gifts that are with posies sent. 

Hazlitt's Handbook, 1867, p. 134, and 
Bibl. Coll. 1903, p. 93. 

A very curious case occurred of a ring 
used by a Venetian gentleman of the 
Pesaro family to seal a letter to a lady 
of his acquaintance in 1796, with the posy, 
Je ne change qu'en mourant, being lately 
recovered in London, whither the owner 
retired on the fall of the old Republic. 
It had doubtless changed hands many 
times. Hazlitt's Venetian Republic, 
1900, ii, 324. See Nuptial Usages and 
Mings. 

Posset or Caudle. — Among the 
Anglo-Saxons, as Strutt informs us, at 
night the bride was by the women atten- 
dants placed in the marriage-bed, and 
the bridegroom in the same manner con- 
ducted by the men, where having both, 
with all who were present, drunk the 
marriage health, the company retired. 
Skinner derives the word from the French 



poser, residere, to settle ; because, when 
the milk breaks, the cheesy paits, being 
heavier, subside. " Nobis proprie desig- 
nat Lac calidum infuso vino cerevisia, &c. 
coagulatum." — See Junii Etymol. in 
verba. 

In the evening of the wedding-day, just 
before the company retired, the sack- 
posset was eaten. Of this posset the 
bride and bridegroom were always to 
taste first. It is mentioned too among the 
bridal rites in the " History of Jack of 
Newbury" 1597, where we are told "the 
sack-posset must be eaten." In "The 
Fifteen Comforts of Marriage," p. 60, it 
is called " an antient custom of the Eng- 
lish matrons, who believe that sack will 
make a man lusty, and sugar will make 
him kind." The custom of eating a posset 
at going to bed seems to have prevailed 
generally among our ancestors. The 
Tobacconist, in a book of Characters 
printed in 1640, says : " And at ray going 
to bed, this is m.v posset." The Wandering 
Jew, p. 20. Herrick has not overlooked 
the posset in his " Hesperides," p. 253; 
nor is it omitted in the " Collier's Wed- 
ding." 

Misson says : " The posset is a kind 
of cawdle, a portion inade up of milk, 
wine, yolks of eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nut- 
meg, &c." He adds: "They never fail 
to bring them another sack posset next 
morning." In the story of the Curst 
Wife lapt in Morels Shin (about 1575) the 
caudle is brought by the mother in the 
morning. Montaigne in his Essay Of the 
Force of Iraagination, speaks of the 
caudle as having in his time been ad- 
ministered to the bridegroom, not prior to 
the retirement of the guests, but in the 
course of the night. He observes in re- 
lation to a friend : " For I would do him 
the office of a friend, and if needs weie, 
would not spare a miracle it was in my 
power to do, provided he would engage to 
me upon his honour to keep it to himself ; 
and only when they came to bring him his 
caudle, if matters had not gone well 
with him, to give me such a sign, and leave 
the rest to me." 

Even as late as 1811, Charles Lamb, in 
a letter to William Hazlitt on the birth of 
my father, says: "Sorry we are not 
within caudle-shot." 

Post and Pair — This game is men- 
tioned in the following passage from the 
play of Nobody and Somebody (1606) : 

Sico(phant). Now sir, as you haue 

compast all the dice, 
So I for cards. These for the game at 

maw. 
All saving one, are cut next vnder that. 
Lay me the ace of harts, then cut the 

cards, 



500 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



your fellow must needs haue it in his 

first tricke. 
Clow. I'le teach you a trick for this 

yfaith. 
Sicop. These for Premero cut vpon the 

sides, 
As the other on the ends. 
Clow. Marke the end of all this. 
Sicop. These are for post and paire, 

these for saunt. 
These for new cut. 

• — Sign. G 3 verso. 

It is thus noticed in "Scogin's Jests," 
ed.l626 : "On a certaine time, Scogin went 
to his scholler, the aforesaid parson, to 
dine with him on a Sunday ; and this 
aforesaid priest or parson all the night 
before had been at cards playing at the 
post." 

In Nares' Glossary, 1859, the game 
is described. According to Earle, in his 
" Micro-cosmographie," 1628, it could be 
played with a dozen counters. 

Pot-Walloper — The Antiquary for 
May, 1896, records the death of the last 
of the pot-wallopers of the borough of 
Pontefract. This term implies a person, 
who acquired the parliamentary franchise 
by virtue of the possession of a free-hold 
hearth, on which he could boil his pot. 
It was prior to the Reform Bill of 1832, 
and required a six months' continuous 
residence as a qualification. The vessel 
itself was a, tripod and was suspended 
by a chain from an iron bar suspended 
in the chimney. Comp. Timbs, Historic 
Ninepins, 1869, p. 255. 

Pound or Pin. — An enclosed (usu- 
ally square) fence used in villages and 
parishes for the detention of stray cattle. 
There was usually a pound-keeper or pin- 
ner, sometimes called a plnder ; the pinder 
of Wakefield has acquired exceptional 
celebrity in connection with the Robin 
Hood cycle of ballads, though really his 
period is in all probability much later. 
But the duties of pinner or pound-keeper 
necessitated the employment of strong 
and courageous fellows acquainted with 
the whole neighbourhood. Even in the 
metropolitan area pounds are still to be 
seen on Putney and Wimbledon Commons, 
and that on Barnes Common has only 
disappeared quite recently, the strays 
going to the Greenyard. It was the scene 
of a jeu d' esprit between Foote and 
Quin, which survives in an epigrammatic 
copy of verses. 

Prayers. — Cassaliou has this taunt 
against the Protestants: "Though," says 
he, " the English now deny that prayers 
are of any service to the dead, yet I could 
meet with no other account of this cere- 
mony than that it was a custom of the 



old Church of England, i.e. the Church of 
Rome." De Vet. Sac. Christ. Bit. p. 241. 

Customary prayers for the dead in the 
15th and 16th centuries appear to have 
been the pater noster, Ave, Credo, and 
De Profundis. Plumpton Corrrespon- 
dence, 1839, p. 75. Priests offered to 
obtain pardon for souls for 32755 years 
in consideration of five paternosters, five 
Ave Marias, and a Credo. See Hazlitt's 
Bibl. Collections, 1903, p. 194, and his 
Ourselves in relation to a Deity and a 
Church, 1897, p. 167. There is a broad- 
side from the press of Caxton containing 
Death-bed Prayers. Prayers were for- 
merly offered or solicited for the builders 
of bridges. Sir Thomas Winnington 
possessed a brass plate found in the 
foundations of the old bridge over the 
Teme at Stanford, Worcestershire, de- 
siring prayers for Humphrey Pakynton 
Esquire of Stanford, who defrayed the 
charges for erecting this structure in the 
first year of Edward VI. 

Presterjohn — A form given by the 
Christian nationalities in the middle ages 
to the name of a real or supposed King 
of Ethiopia or Abyssinia, whom they pre- 
tended to have converted to Christianity. 
The real name was probably Vng Khan 
or Khan Vng, and it has been even 
doubted whether this appellation was not 
borne by more than one ruler, like 
those of Pharaoh in Egypt and Arsaces in 
Parthia. 

Pretty Money.- -New money put 
by, and saved in a stocking or bag ; the 
arnount is not limited, but it is usually 
trifling, and seldom exceeds a few pounds. 
East Anglia. In Sussex they call it 
pocket-pieces. 

Prevaricator — The name of an 
annually chosen officer at Cambridge, who 
delivered before the assembled university 
an address in Latin, in which he was left 
at liberty to offer tolerably free and 
humorous criticisms on the authorities. 
Randolph the poet was Prevaricator for 
1632, and his Oration was first printed in 
my edition of his Works, 1875. I do not 
think that any text was previously known 
of these Saturnalian addresses. 

Prickingr at the Belt or Girdle, 
or Fast and Loose. — A cheating 
game, of which the following is a des- 
cription : "A leathern belt is made up 
into a number of intricate folds, and 
placed edgewise upon a table. One of the 
folds is made to resemble the middle of 
the girdle, so that whoever shall thrust a 
skewer into it would think he held it fast 
to the table : whereas, when he has so 
done, the person with whom he plays may 
take hold of both ends and draw it away." 
It appears to have been a game much 
practised by the gipsies in the time of 



4 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



SOI 



Shakespear. Hazlitt's Dodsley, xiii, 174. 
It is still in vogue. 
Prickins: in Civic Elections. — 

The annual choice of the Sheriifs of Lon- 
don by this method is sufficiently familiar. 
But some of the City Gilds have been 
accustomed to resort in certain cases to 
the same process, the persons entitled to 
vote pricking on paper with a pin. See 
Hazlitt's Livery Companies, 1892, p. 464. 
Pricicing' in the Old Hat.— It 
aopears from a communication by Mr. W. 
Kelly to " Current Notes " for June, 1854, 
that the Chamberlain's Accounts for the 
Borough of Leicester for 1749-50 have the 
following entry: "Paid for prosecuting 
one Richardson, and others by (for?) 
pricking at a game called Pricking in 
the Old Hat, 6s. lOd." Unless this amuse- 
ment resembled the preceding, and was an 
outgrowth from it, I cannot undertake 
a solution of the mystery involved in this 
registration. 

Primero. — See an excellent account 
of it in Nares, Glossary, 1859, in v. and 
comp. Quinola. 

Prince d'Amour.— See Christmas 
Prince. 

Prince of Purpoole or Porty- 
pool. — See Christmas Prince. 

Prison Bars or Base. — In the 
Dictionary of Johannes de Garlandia, 
written in the early part of the thirteenth 
century, under the enumeration of re- 
quisites for the house of a respectable 
person, we meet, oddly enough, with barri, 
which are thus explained to us : " Barri 
sunt genus ludi, Gallice barres ;" and the 
editor, in a note, adds: "Possibly the 
game still called bars or prison-base^ well- 
known to schoolboys." Comp. Pulling off 
Hats infra. 

The game of "the country base" is 
mentioned in the " Faery Queene," 1590, 
and by Shakespear in " Cymbeline." 
Also in Chettle's tragedy of "Hoffman," 
1631 : 

"I'll run a little course 
At base, or barley-brake." 

Again, in Brome's " Antipodes," 1640 : 
" My men can run at base." 

Again, in the thirtieth song of Drayton's 
" Polyolbion : " 

"At hood-wink, barley-brake, at tick, 
or prison base." 

'Comp. Nares, Glossary, 1859, in v. In 
Southern Italy they have a children's 
■sport, called Bomha, which resembles this, 
and which is familiar to English ears as 
the sohriouet of Ferdinand II. King of 
the Two Sicilies. 

Prophecies. — It appears from a , 
letter written in February, 1485-6, by ! 



Thomas Betanson to Sir Robert Plumpton, 
that prophesying was in that year felony. 
The writer says : ' ' Also it is in actt, that 
all manor of profycyes is mayd felony." 
There does not seem to be any other re- 
cord of this, as no such statute is on the 
parliament-roll ; but in the present imper- 
fect state of the latter, sucn an omission 
is easily to be accounted for. We read 
that : " A.D. 1560. A skinner of Southwark 
was set on the pillory; with a paper over 
his head, shewing the cause, viz. for sun- 
dry practices of great falsehood, and much 
untruth : and all set forth under the 
colour of southsaying." Stow's Survey, 
1720, lib. i, p. 257. 

Lloyd in his Stratagems of Jerusalem, 
1602, p. 290, observes under this head : 
" Aristander the soothsayer, in the battell 
at Arbela, being the last against Darius, 
was seen on horsebacke hard by Alexan- 
der, apparelled all in white, and a crowne 
of golde upon his head, encouraging 
Alexander, by the flight of an eagle, the 
victory should be his over Darius. Botlf 
the Greekes, the Romaines, and the Lace* 
demonians, had theyr soothsayers hard bj 
them in their warres." 

In connection with this subject, the 
following communication from a corres- 
pondent of the Pall Mall Gazette (April, 
1879) may be cited : — " It seems that the 
labouring classes in Mid-Somerset, like 
most other rural districts in England, 
hold or held sacred certain supposed 
prophecies of Mother Shipton, whose 
topographical knowledge, if we are to 
believe all that is said of her, must 
have been little less marvellous than her 
insight into the future. Of these prop- 
hecies the most widely believed in had 
reference to the fate of Ham Hill, a large 
stone quarry in the neighbourhood of 
Yeovil, and a prominent feature of the 
landscape for miles around. It was to the 
effect that at twelve o'clock on Good Fri- 
day of 1879, Ham Hill should suddenly be 
swallowed up by an earthquake, and 
that at the same time Yeovil should be 
visited by a tremendous flood. With such 
real anxiety was last Friday looked for- 
ward to, in consequence, that people 
actually left the locality with their fami- 
lies and went to stay with their friends 
in other parts of the country until the 
dreaded "visitation" should be over; 
others, whose faith was less robust, never- 
theless thought it advisable to remove 
their pots and pans from the shelves of 
their cupboards and stow away their clocks 
and looking-glasses in places where they 
were not likely to be shattered by the 
shock of the earthquake ; others, again, 
suspended gardening operations for a day 
or two, thinking it mere waste to commit 
good seed to earth that was likely to be- 



502 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Yi 



have so treacherously. On the morning 
of Good Friday itself large numbers of 
people — many of them from a distance — 
flocked to the spot, or as near to the spot 
as they dared venture, to await, half 
incredulous and half in terror, the stroke 
of twelve and the fulfilment of the prop- 
hecy. When, however, the appointed hour 
had passed, and Ham Hill still stood 
unabashed, they began to look sheepishly 
into each other's faces and to move away. 
At present in Mid-Somerset Mother 
Shipton and her prophecies are somewhat 
at a discount." 

Mr. Goodrich-Frier (Outer Isles, 1902) 
has collected some curious notices of the 
faith in seers and prophecy in the Heb- 
rides within a measurable period of 
time. 

Propping'- — A marriage custom, 
erhaps, peculiar to Northamptonshire. 
t is confined to marriages where the 
parties are well-known, or people of 
station, and consists "in placing pieces 
of timber or poles round the house and 
against the door of the newly-married 
couple." Baker adds: "An action, in 
connection with this curious practice, was 
tried at Northampton Assizes in 1842. 
At the marriage of a gentleman at Bug- 
brook, some of the villagers propped his 
house ; and he being annoyed at the pro- 
ceedings, fired from a window, and 
wounded the plaintiff, since which time the 
practice has been discontinued in that 
village, but is partially observed in some 
others (1854)." 

Pterodactyl — A huge flying rep- 
tile of jjrehistoric times, which may have 
given rise to the fabulous dragon of the 
middle ages. 

Pudding:, Cliristmas. — It is 
thought to be lucky to stir one's neigh- 
bovirs' puddings, and some women even 
now will go some distance to do so. I 
have understood that the Irish set their 
Christmas pudding on the fire at midnight 
on Christmas-Eve, and let it boil till the 
following mid-day. 

Puddins-pieingf. — In Kent, they 
go a pudding-pieing on Easter day, the 
pudding-pie being a sort of cheese-cake or 
custard, with a raised crust and currants 
sprinkled over. Cherry beer is commonly 
drunk with these delicacies by the young 
folks. 

Puddining:. — An ancient offering on 
the first visit of a young child to the house 
of a neighbour. See Halliwell in v. 

Pulling: off HatS.^At a Parlia- 
ment held 6 Edward III., March 16, 1332, 
a Proclamation was ordered to be made, 
among other matters, against children 
playing any games, including (Prison) 
Bars and Pulling off Hats, in the Palace 



at Westminster during the sitting of 
Parliament. Parry's Parliaments and 
Councils, 1839, p. 97. 

Pulver Wednesday. — See Ash 
Wednesday. 

Punchinello. — Comp. Polichinello. 

Purification of the Virg:in.— 
See Mary of Nazareth. 

Push-Bali. — A modern American 
form of football, of course eclipsing the 
European prototype. The ball used is a 
rubber bidder, which, when inflated, 
measures 6ft. 3in. in diameter. This 
sport is played at Harvard University, 
and its invention is ascribed to Mr. M. G. 
Crane, of Newton, Massachusetts. 

Push-Pin. — "This," observes Strutt, 
" is a very silly sport, being nothing more 
than simply pushing one pin across an- 
other." Where Strutt obtained his in- 
formation, I do not know ; but from a 
coarse allusion in the Epigrams of Richard 
Middleton, of York, 1608, and from the 
waj in which it is introduced into Fuller's 
Gnomologia, 1732, it might be supposed 
to have been of a somewhat different 
nature. 

Put.^This is a game at cards, and is 
thus referred to in " The Riddle," a copy 
of verses inserted in " Rvimp Songs," 
1662: 

" Shall's have a game at put, to passe 

away the time, 
Expect no foul play, though I do play 

the Knave, 
I have a King at hand, yea that I have ; 
Cards, be ye true, then the game is 

mine." 

Put is referred to in Speed's Batt upon 
Batt, 1694, where a dexterous player is 
said to " always have three trays in 
hand," and where it is numbered among 
the Christmas amusements. It appears 
to have been an amusement of the lower 
orders more particularly in the time of 
Queen Anne. Chatto's Facts and Specu- 
lations, 1848, p. 166. 

Nabbes, in his Springs glory, a Masque, 
1639, introduces a dialogue between 
Christmas, " personated by an old re- 
verend gentleman in a furr'd gowne and 
cappe, &c.," and Shrovetide, " a fat cooke 
with a fi-ying-pan, &c.," and enumerates 
certain games played at the former season, 
including Put : — 

"Christmas. Thou get children? 
Shrovetide. Yes more than Christmas, and 
better too : for thine are all unthrifts, 
whores, or murderers. Thy sonne In and 
in undid many a citizen. Thou hast a 
Daughter called my Ladycs hole, a filthy 
black slut she is ; and Pict is common in 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



503 



every Bawdy house. 'Tis thought Noddy 
was none of thine own getting, but an 
aldermans, that in exchange cuckolded 
thee, when thou wast a Courtier." 

Puttuck or Pothook.— A stout 
steel bar fastened by a collar to the neck 
of an offender. A correspondent of Cur- 
rent Notes, where (December, 1854, p. 
101) an illustration of the object and its 
use is given, observes: "From older in- 
dividuals than myself I learn that fifty 
or sixty years since they have seen it in 
use in the workhouse at Harleston." 

Pyx Chapel. — This apartment, 
hitherto jealously guarded by double en- 
trance doors, opeuable only by means of 
seven keys, each kept by a different 
official, has now been taken under the 
charge of the Office of Works, and is to 
be thrown open to public inspection, 
electric light being installed. The chapel, 
situated in the dark cloisters of West- 
minster Abbey, contains several objects 
of interest, and has been during centuries 
the repository of the standards and assays 
employed in the national coinage. The 
periodical Trial of the Pyx was a 
mysterious operation, of which very few 
outside those privileged to attend it had 
any knowledge. But the new arrange- 
ments will render the locality and matter 
more familiar. 

Quaaltagrh. — See First Foot. 

Quadrille. — A game at cards allied 
to primero, ombre, &c. Counters were 
used, which in the first instance were 
put into a pool — a pool of quadrille being, 
like a rubber of whist, a succession of 
games. Only forty cards were used. I 
think the threes, fours, and fives were 
thrown out. There were four players. 
The three great cards or matadores 
were Spadille, the ace of spades ; Manille, 
according to the trump, the two of spades 
or clubs, or the seven of hearts or dia- 
monds ; Basto, the ace of clubs. The 
trump was decided by " asking leave," 
the first hand having the prior right. If 
another said "preference," meaning 
hearts for the trump, the first gave way. 
The partner was decided by one of the 
players " accepting." If the first would 
not yield to " preference," he might "call 
a king" — i.e. naming a king, and giving 
some worthless card in exchange, for which 
he paid a fine, and then playing inde- 
pendent of the partner ; but if another 
said "I will play alone," all yielded to 
him. If the name of the trump made all 
the ten tricks, it was a "voice," if only 
five it was a, " basto," if only four it was 
" codille," or basted off the board. When 
hearts or diamonds were trumps the ace 
was called Punto, and ranked above the 



king ; if not, below him and the queen 
and knave. — Notes and Queries. 

Quails. — It appears that the Roman* 
used quails as well as cocks for fighting. 
Douce, (Illnstr. of Shakesp. 1807, ii, 87) 
informs us, "Quail combats were well 
known among the ancients, and especially 
at Athens. Julius Pollux relates that a 
circle was made, in which the birds were 
placed, and he whose quail was driven out 
of the circle lost the stake, which was 
sometimes money, and occasionally the 
quails themselves. Another practice wa& 
to produce one of these birds, which being 
first smitten or filliped with the middle 
finger, a feather was then plucked from 
its head : if the quail bore this operation 
without flinching, his master gained the 
stake, but lost it if he ran away. 

The Chinese have been always extremely 
fond of quail-fighting, as appears from 
most of the accounts of that people, and 
particularly in Mr. Bell's excellent re- 
lation of his ' Travels in China,' where 
the reader will find much curious matter 
on the subject. See Vol. i. p. 424, 8vo. 
edit. We are told by Mr. Marsden that 
"the Sumatrans likewise use these birds 
in the manner of game cocks." This 
account is accompanied by a copy from 
an elegant Chinese miniature painting, 
representing some ladies engaged at this 
amusement. Cocks and quails, fitted for 
the purpose of engaging one another to 
the last gasp for diversion, are frequently 
compared in the Roman writers, and with 
much propriety, to gladiators. Hence 
Pliny's expression " Gallorum, seu Gladia- 
torum ;" and that of Columella, " rixo- 
sarum Avium Lanistse," Lanista being the 
proper term for the Master of tlie 
Gladiators. 

Queen or Lady of May. — See 
Maid Marian. 

Questions and Commands. — 
In "Round About Our Coal Fire (about 
1730), this is named and explained : — 
" The time of the year being cold and 
frosty, the diversions are within doors, 
either in exercise or by the fire-side. 
Dancing is one of the chief exercises : or 
else there is a match at blindman's-buff, 
or puss in the corner. The next game i^- 
" Questions and Commands,' when the 
commander may oblige his subject tu 
answer any lawful question, and make the 
same obey him instantly, under the 
penalty of being smutted, or paying sucli 
forfeit as may be laid on the aggressor. 
Most of the other diversions are cards 
and dice." 

Quince. — The following remarkable 
passage occurs in "The Praise of Musick," 
158f) : "I come to mariages, wherein aa 



504 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



our ancestors, (I do willingly harp upon 
this string, that our younger wits may 
know that they stand under correction 
of elder judgements,) did fondly and with 
a kind of doting maintaiue many rites 
and ceremonies, some whereof were either 
shadowes or abodements of a pleasant life 
to come, as the eating of a Quince peare, 
to be a preparative of sweete and de- 
lightfull dayes between the maried 
persons." 

A present of quinces, from a husband 
to his bride, is noticed as part of the 
wedding entertainment at an English 
marriage in 1725. The correspondent of 
" Notes and Queries," who commented on 
this usage (if such it was), observes, that 
it is apt to remind one of the ancient 
Greek custom, that the married couple 
should eat a quince together. There is no 
explicit statement, however, or even 
suggestion in the record, from which this 
gentleman quotes, that the ceremony was 
actually observed on the occasion to which 
he refers. 

Quinola,. — The term at primero for a 
chief card. 

Quintain or Quintal.— This was a 
Roman amusement, but was also practised 
in the East, whence probably the Romans 
derived their knowledge of it, and in 
India. 

The quintain seems indeed to have been 
practised by most nations in Europe. See 
Menage, "Diet." in v.; Le Grand, 
"Fabl." torn. ii. p. 214; Ducange and 
Soelman, " Glos. ;" Matt. Paris, ed. 1640, 
Glos. ;" Dugdale's " Warwicksh." p. 166; 
Cowell's "Interpr." in v.; Plot's " Ox- 
fordsh." p. 200-1; and " Archieol." vol. 
i. p. 305. A description of the military 
quintain may be seen in Pluvinel ("L'ln- 
struction du Roy sur I'exercise de mouter 
a cheval," p. 217). and a singular specimen 
of the sport occurs in Tressani (" Corps 
d'Extraits de Romans," torn. ii. p. 30). 
Comp. Polo. 

We know that the game or exercise 
was well known to Fitzstephen and 
Matthew Paris, the latter of whom ex- 
pressly alludes to it under the year 1253 
by the name of Quintena. This was in the 
time of Henry III., subsequently to the 
date at which Fitzstephen flourished and 
wrote, the latter having died, as it is 
supposed, in or about 1191. The treat- 
ment and details evidently varied accord- 
ing to circumstances, and there were two 
distinct kinds of sport, the land and the 
water quintain. 

Running at the Quintain was a ludicrous 
kind of tilting at the ring, generally per- 
formed by peasants to divert their lord, 
and was thus done: — A strong post was 
set upright in the ground, about the 
height of a man on horseback, having on 



the top a pivot, which ran through a long 
horizontal beam, unequally divided, and 
at the least stroke revolving freely about 
its centre, somewhat in the nature of a 
turnstile. On the upright post the head 
and body of a figure of an unarmed man 
was fixed. The horizontal beam repre- 
sented his arms ; the shortest hand had a 
target, nearly covering the whole body, 
except a small spot on the breast, marked 
with a heart or ring, and at the end of 
the target was a wooden sword, a cudgel, 
or a bag of wet sand. At this figure 
peasants armed with poles for lances, and 
mounted on sorry jades of horses, ran full 
tilt, attempting to strike the heart or 
ring. These holes were of such a length, 
that if they struck the shield instead of 
the heart or ring, the short arm of the 
lever retiring, brought round that armed 
with a cudgel or sand-bag at such a dis- 
tance and with such velocity, as commonly 
to meet and dismount the awkward as- 
sailant. 

Stow tells us that the amusement was 
followed by the citizens of London in 
winter as well as in summer, namely, at 
Christmas. "I have seen," says he, "a 
quintain set upon Cornhill by the Leaden 
Hall, where the attendants of the lords of 
merry disports have run and made great 
pastime." So early as 1253, 38 Henry 
III., some of the king's servants came 
down to the city from Westminster, where 
the Court was, and there was a tumult, 
as the intruders insulted the Londoners, 
who were entitled to the name of Barons, 
and the royal party fell on them, and beat 
them, and over and above that the King 
amerced the city in 1000 marks. Survey, 
1720, Book 1, p. 249. The water quintain 
was in vogue, it may be inferred, at 
Easter, and the other variety in the 
Christmas holidays. 

Fitzstephen says of the water-quintain : 
" At Easter the diversion is prosecuted on 
the water ; a target is strongly fastened to 
a trunk or mast fixed in the middle of the 
river, and a youngster standing upright 
in the stern of a, boat, made to move as 
fast as the ciirrent and oars can carry it, 
is to strike the target with his lance, and 
if in hitting it he breaks his lance, and 
keeps his place in the boat, he gains his 
point, and triumphs ; but if it happens 
the lance is not shivered by the force of 
the blow, he is of course tumbled into the 
water, and away goes his vessel without 
him. However, a couple of boats full of 
young men are placed, one on each side 
of the target, so as to be ready to take 
up the unsuccessful adventurer, the 
moment he emerges from the stream and 
comes fairly to the surface. The bridge 
and the balconies on the banks are filled 
with spectators, whose business is to 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



505 



laugh." Descr. of London, 1772, pp. 
48-9. : > ff 

Henry, referring to the land game, thus 
describes it : " A strong post was fixed in 
the ground, with a piece of wood, which 
turned upon a spindle, on the top of it. 
At one end of this piece of wood a bag of 
sand was suspended, and at the other end 
a board was nailed. Against this board 
they tilted with spears, which made the 
pins of wood turn quickly on the spindle, 
and the bag of sand strike the riders on 
the back with great force, if they did not 
make their escape by the fleetness of their 
horses. Hist, of Great Britain, iii, 594. 
He refers to Strype's Stow, 1720, i, 249, 
where the woodcut probably assisted his 
account. This may apply to the first half 
of the 18th century. 

The quintain is introduced into the 
prose history of Merlin. In the account 
of the tournament at Logres, it is said : 
" After mete was the quyntayne reysed, 
and ther at bourded the yonge batche- 
lers." It does not exactly appear what 
kind of quintain is here intended, but it 
was probably the Pel, of which a des- 
cription may be read in Strutt. Some- 
thing of this sort seems intended in the 
burlesque account of the marriage of 
Tybbe the Reve's daughter, in the " Tour- 
nament of Tottenham, written probably 
in the fourteenth century. In Strype's 
" Annals," anno 1575, among the various 
sports, &c. used to entertain Oueeu Eliza- 
beth at Kenilworth Castle, he tells us, 
" That afternoon (as the relater ex- 
presseth it) in honour of this Kenil- 
worth Castle, and of God and St. Kenelme, 
(whose day by the kalendar this was,) was 
a solemn country bridal, with running at 
Quintin." 

A modification of the game appears in 
a missal in the Douce Collection, in which 
a person is represented balancing himself 
upon a pole laid across two stools. At 
the end of the pole is a lighted candle, 
from which he is endeavouring to light 
another in his hand at the risk of tumbling 
into a bucket of water placed under him. 
It appears from Bishop Kennett, that 
the quintain was anciently a customary 
sport at weddings. He says it was used 
in his time at Blackthorne and at Ded- 
dington, in Oxfordshire. Oloss. to P. 
A. and Blount says: "It is a game or 
sport still in request at marriages, in 
some parts of this nation, especially in 
Shropshire : the manner now corruptly 
thus: — a quintain, buttress, or thick 
plank of wood is set fast in the ground 
of the high-way, where the bride and 
bridegroom are to pass ; and poles are 
provided ; with which the young men run 
a tilt on horseback, and he that breaks 
most poles, and shews most activity, wins 



the garland." But he may be presumed 
to refer to the period anterior to the Civil 
War. Olossographia, 1656, in v. 

Owen's description of the quintain as 
played at weddings seems to indicate a 
much milder diversion than that form of 
it usually practised. He says: "A pole 
is fixt in the ground, with sticks set about 
it, which the bridegroom and his company 
take up, and try their strength and 
activity in breaking them upon the pole." 
Welsh Diet. v. Quintan. 

The quintain was one of the ST)ort.s 
practised by the Cornish men in July on 
Halgaver Moor, near Bndmin. The 
method of plaving at it as described in a 
newspaper of 1789 is exactly correspondent 
with that emploved b" our countrymen in 
Stow's time and in Fitzstephen's. " On 
Off'ham Green." says Ha.sted. "there 
stands a Quintain, a thing now rarely to 
be met with, being a mnchine much u.sed 
in former times by youth, as well to try 
their own activity, as tlie swiftness of 
their horses in runnino' at it. ('He gives 
an engraving of it.) The cross-piece of it 
is broad at one end, and pierced full of 
holes ; and a bag of sard is hung at the 
other, and swings round on being moved 
with any blow. The pastime was for the 
youth on horseback to run ft it as fast 
as possible, and hit the broad part in his 
career with much force. He that bv 
chance hit it not at all, was treated with 
loud peals of derision ; and he who did 
hit it, made the best use of his swiftness, 
lest he should have a sound blow on his 
neck from the bag of sand, which instantly 
swang round from the other end of the 
quintain. The great design of this sport, 
was to try the agility of the horse and 
man, and to break the board, which, who- 
ever did, he was acrounted chief of the 
day's sport. It stands opposite the dwell- 
ing house of the estate, which is bound to 
keep it up." The same author speaking 
of Bobbing parish, says : " there was for- 
merly a quintin in this parish, there being 
fstill a field in it, called from thence the 
Quintin-Field." Hist, of Kent, folio, ed. 
ii, 224, 639. The quintain at OfE'ham 
Green was still there in 1899. 

This pastime, somewhat diversified, was 
in the 17th century practised by the 
Flemings at their wakes or festivals. In 
some cases one arm presented a ring, while 
the other held the club or sand-bag ; in 
others the revolving arms were placed 
vertically, the lower shewing the ring, 
while the upper supported a vessel full of 
water, whereby the want of dexterity in 
the tilter was punished with a, bath. Re- 
presentations of this exercise may be seen 
among the prints after Wouverman, who 
died in 1668. Grose's Antiquities, iv. 



5o6 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Quoits. — In the Statute of Labourers, 
1541, all labourerSj artificers, and other 
workmen are prohibited under penalties 
from playing at certain games (coyting 
included) except at Christmas, and then 
in their 'master's house or presence. 
Antony Wood is our authority for the 
statement that Arthur Dee, Dr. Dee's 
son, played with quoits of gold, which his 
father had made by transmutation at 
Prague in Bohemia. Thome's Environs of 
London, 1876, ii, 442. See CockaU. 
Among th e Si khs, Captain Mundy found 
the quoit in use as a weapon in war. 

Races. — • The earliest apparent 
notices of horse-races are in two very 
ancient Trench metrical romances men- 
tioned by Wright. Domestic Blanners 
and Sentiments, 1862, p. 318. But the 
present writer does not follow this 
authority in supposing that, while such 
an usage is specified, it was not carried 
out in practice ; for in fact horse-races 
were familiar to the Greeks, and are 
described by Fitzstephen, who flourished 
in the time of Henry II. Account of 
London, 1772, p. 38. In the beginning of 
the 17th c. races were held both in Surrey 
and in Yorkshire, where the prize to the 
winner appears to have been a silver bell 
in Camden's day, and in or about 1618 we 
find Newmarket already a favourite resort 
of the King and Court. Hazlitt's Vene- 
tian Bepublic, 1900, ii, 240. During the 
reign of Charles I. Hyde Park was a 
favourite ground for this diversion, and 
in Shirley's play of Hyde Park, 1637, 
occur the names of several famous horses, 
which ran at that date, including Bay 
Tarrall, "that won the cup at Newmar- 
ket." Hazlitt's Manual of Old Plays, 
1892, p. 112. In Cyuile and Vncyuile 
Life, 1579, Valentine, one of the inter- 
locutors, says of gentlemen : ' ' For 
though they refuse not for company 
& conversation to hauke & hunte, yet is 
our most coutinuall exercise eyther studie 
or ridinge of great & seruiceable horses — ." 

In Hinde's "Life of John Bruen," 
1641, p. 104, the author recommends "unto 
many of our gentlemen, and to many of 
inferior rank, that they would make an 
exchange of their foot races and horse 
races," &c. 

In 1654 and 1658 horse-races were sus- 
pended for six and eight months 
respectively by proclamation. Hazlitt's 
Bibl. Coll., 1903, p. 90-1. 

In the time of Charles II. a horse-race 
used to be periodically held at Leith under 
official or municipal sanction, and an ex- 
tant broadside with the date 168 . , the 
last numeral being left blank to be 
supplied in MS. contains the rules ob- 



servable on the occasion by those engaged 
or concerned. Hazlitt's Bibl. Coll, & 
Notes, 1903, p. 222. Comp. To Bear the 
Bell and Horses. 

Misson, writing about 1698, says : "The 
English nobility take great delight in 
horse-races. The most famous are usually 
at Newmarket ; and there you are sure to 
see a great many persons of the first 
quality, and almost all the gentlemen of 
the neighbourhood. It is pretty common 
for them to lay wagers of two thousand 
pounds sterling upon one race. I have 
seen a horse, that after having run twenty 
miles in fifty-five minutes, upon ground 
less even than that where the races are 
run at Newmarket, and won the wager 
for his master, would have been able to 
run a-new without taking breath, if he 
that had lost durst have ventured again. 
There are also races run by men." 
Travels in England, p. 231. 

Raffling. — See itifling. 

ttAgmstn. — An ancient game, which 
is supposed to have been played in the 
following manner: — a series of poetical 
characters were written in stanzas on a 
long roll of parchment or paper, and a 
seal was fastened with a string to each 
description. The roll was then folded up, 
and placed on the table, at which the 
company sat, and each then selected a 
character by touching a seal. No one 
could even foresee what character be or she 
would have, till the roll was opened. See 
farther in Phimpton Correspondence, 
1839, p. 168, Wright's Anecdota Literaria, 
1844, p. 81, and Hazlitt's Popular Poetry. 
i, 68, where it should have been perhaps 
rather stated that the term, as applied to 
this amusement, was a secondary^ sense. 
The antiquity of this sport is ap- 
parently testified by the sobriquet of 
Bagman Boll applied to the deed with 
the seals of the Scotish chiefs given hi; 
them as a token of their fealty to Edward 
I. But the term was in general use in the 
fourteenth century for a roll of any kind, 
with seals attached. Hence perhaps we 
gain the conventional term rigmarole, and 
the editor of the Plumpton Correspondence 
thinks that Bully rook in the M. W. of 
W. should be Bully rag. 

Rag:s at Wells. — See Blessing of 
Clouts. 

Rain. — See Weather Omens. 

Rainbow. — ^The rainbow may be 
included among barometrical indicators. 
It is still a common saw : 

"The rainbow in the morning 
Is the shepherd's warning ; 
The rainbow at night. 
Is the shepherd's delight." 

Which is a belief entertained by the 
French, and (as M. Michel shews) by the 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



507 



inhabitants of the Basc[ue country. The 
Coi-nish people have this version : 

" A rainbow in the morn, 

Put your hook in the corn ; 

A rainbow at eve, 

Put your head in the sheave." 
A curious and valuable assemblage of 
notices in reference to the rainbow, and 
its supposed influence and character in 
various countries, may be found in ]\Iclu- 
sine for April, 1884, and the notions of 
the Romans on the subject in Miscellanea 
Virgiliana, by a Graduate of Cambridge, 
(Donaldson), 1825, p. 39. The lunar rain- 
bow differs from the solar one, is some- 
times destitute of iridescence, and is rarer 
or more rarely visible. 

Raphael] St. — Lydgate, in his 
Vertue of the Masse, says : 

" — Raphaell by recorde of Thobye 
Shall be your leche and your medycyne." 

Hazlitt's Fugitive Tracts, 1875, i, sign, 
c 3. 
Rapier-Dance.— See Halliwell in v. 

Rats and Mice — St. Gertrude was 
supposed to poison all rats and mice, so 
that none of these vermin were ever 
known to gnaw any Friars' cheese or 
bacon. Melton's Astrologaster, 1620, 
p. 19. 

Rats Rhymed to Death. — For 
a superstition on this subject, see Nares, 
ed. 1859, in v. The term formed the 
title to a collection of ballads printed in 
1660 in ridicule of the Rump Parliament. 
Sir W. Temple seems to have traced the 
idea to a Runic source. 

Rattle. — Cornelius Scriblerus re- 
marks : "I heartily wish a diligent search 
may be made after the true Crepitaculum, 
or rattle of the ancients, for that (as Archy- 
tas Terentinus was of opinion,) kept the 
children from breaking earthenware. The 
China cups in these days are not at all 
the safer for the modern rattles : which 
is an evident proof how far their Crepita- 
cula exceeded ours." 

Martial mentions this in the 54th 
Epigram of Book iv, under both its Roman 
names, crepitaculum being the more 
usual. See St. John's Mnnncrs and Cus- 
toms of Ancient Greece, 1842, i, 145. 

Rattlesnake. — Waterton the natu- 
ralist, in his exploration of Pernambuco 
and its neighbourhood in 1816, relates an 
interesting account of the peculiar fasci- 
nation of this creature. In some tangled 
undergrowth in an abandoned orange or- 
chard the writer distinguished an object, 
which he took to be a pale green grass- 
hopper, near which six or seven black 
birds, with a white spot between the 
shoulders were hovering and crying. 
Waterton waited, till the grasshopper was 



near enough to secure without injury or 
trouble, when the object laised itself, and 
it proved to be the head of a large rattle- 
snake. If Waterton had attempted to 
attack or seize it, the serpent would have 
sprung at him ; but he stood still, and it 
glided away, and when it had gone, the 
birds did the same. The spell, as it were, 
was broken ; the rattle was no longer 
audible. 

Raven. — Bartholomeus says: "And 
as divinours mene the raven hath a maner 
virtue of meanyng and tokenynge of 
divination. And therefore, among 

nations, the raven among foules was 
halowed to Apollo, as Mercius saythe." 
De Propr. Berum, ed. 1536, fol. 168. 

Macaulay tells us : " The truly philo- 
sophical manner in which the great Latin 
Poet has accounted for the joyful croak- 
ings of the raven species, upon a favour- 
able chaunge of weather, will in my 
apprehension point out at the same time 
the true natural causes of that spirit of 
divination, with regard to storms of wind, 
rain, or snow, by which the sea-gull, tul- 
mer, cormorant, heron, crow, plover, and 
other birds are actuatM sometimes before 
the change comes on. Of inspired birds, 
ravens were accounted the most propheti- 
cal. Accordingly, in the language of that 
district (St. Kilda), to have the foresight 
of a raven, is to this day a proverbial 
expression, denoting a preternatural saga- 
city in predicting fortuitous events. In 
Greece and Italy, ravens were sacred to 
Apollo, the great patron of augurs, and 
were called companions and attendants of 
that God." Hist, of St. Kilda, 165, 174, 
176. 

Ross informs us that " by ravens both 

Cublick and private calamities and death 
ave been portended. Jovianus Pontanus 
relates two terrible skirmishes between the 
ravens and the kites in the fields lying 
between Beneventum and Apicium, which 
prognosticated a great battle that was to 
be fought in those fields. Nicetas speaks 
of a skirmish between the crowes and 
ravens, presignifying the irruption of the 
Scythians into Thracia." He adds : 
" Private men have been forewarned of 
their death by ravens, I have not only 
heard and read, but have likewise ob- 
served divers times. A late example I 
have of a young gentleman, Mr. Draper, 
my intimate friend, who about five or six 
years ago (1646) being then in the flower 
of his age, had on a sudden one or two 
ravens in his chamber, which h.id been 
quarrelling upon the top of the chimney ; 
these they apprehended as messengers of 
his death, and so they were ; for he died 
shortly after. Cicero was forewarned by 
the noise and fluttering of ravens about 
him, that his end was near. He that 



5o8 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



employed a raven to be the feeder of Elias, 
may employ the same bird as a messenger 
of death to others. We read in histories 
of a crow in Trajan's time that in the 
Capitol spoke in Greek All things shall 
be well." Arcana Microcosmi, pp. 219-20 
of appendix. 

Pennant says that " a vulgar respect is 
paid to the raven, as being the bird ap- 
pointed by heaven to feed the prophet 
Elijah, when he fled from the rage of 
Ahab." Zoology, i, 219. Spenser speaks 
of 

"The hoarse night raven, trorape of 
doleful dreere." 

In "Othello," we have: 

" — O, it comes o'er my memory 

As doth the raven o'er th' infected 

house. 
Boding to all." 

So again elsewhere : 

" The raven rook'd her on the chimney's 

top. 
And chattering pies in dismal discord 

sang." 

And in the second part of " Antonio and 
Mellida," 1602: 

" Now croaks the toad, and night crowes 

screech aloud, 
Fluttering 'bout casements of departing 

soules. 
Now gapes the graves, and through their 

yawnes let loose 
Imprison'd spirits to revisit earth." 

Moresin includes the croaking of ravens 
among omens. Hall, in his "Characters," 
1608, tells us that if the superstitious man 
hears the raven croak from the next roof, 
he at ouce makes his will. 

Raw Head and Bloody Bones. 
— Among the objects to terrify children 
in former times we must not forget "Raw 
Head and bloody Bones," who twice occurs 
in Butler's "Hudibras:" 

" Turns meek and secret sneaking ones 

To raw-heads fierce and bloody bones." 
And again : 

' ' Made children with your tones to run 
for't. 

As bad as Bloody-bones or Lunsford." 
This was the Colonel Lunsford who was at- 
tached to the Earl of Bedford's force dur- 
ing part of the Civil War. 

Reapers, The.— A child's game 
performed by two circles of small school- 
children of both sexes, holding hands, and 
singing, and at a stage in the chant dis- 
engaging hands again, and dancing round. 
The amusement is followed on Friday 
afternoons at Barnes, and at the inter- 
national Folk-Lore Conference at Mercers' 



Hall, a selection from this village-school 
attended, and went through the sport. 
Some other of the games described in 
Mrs. Gomme's volume are also played at 
Barnes. 

Relics.— In the "Privy Purse Ex- 
penses of Henry VIII." under 1530-1, are 
two entries of sums paid "in reward" 
to persons who brougnt " relick water" 
to the King. It does not seem to be very 
intelligible what was meant by this. 
Hone, in his " Every-day Book," enume- 
rates a list of relics in which occur : "A 
tear which our Lord shed over Lazarus ; 
it was preserved by an angel, who gave 
it in a phial to Mary Magdalene," and a 
" phial of the sweat of St. Michael, when 
he contended with Satan." But perhaps 
the water offered to Henry's acceptance 
was merely holy water, additionally con- 
secrated by the immersion of certain relics 
in it. The first entry in the book of 
Expenses stands thus: " Itm the same 
daye (18 Aug. 1530,) to Roger for bringing 
a glasse of relike water fro Wyndesor to 
hampton-courte .... xiid. ;" and on the 
22nd of July, 1531, the Abbot of West- 
minster received 20s. for bringing relic 
water to the King at Chertsey. 

A note in Nichols's Leicestershire in- 
forms us that " upon the dissolution of 
the monasteries at Leicester, a multitude 
of false miracles and superstitious relicks 
weiv detected. Amongst the rest. Our 
Ladies Girdle shewn in several places 
and her milk in eight; the penknife of 
St. Thomas of Canterbui-y, and a piece of 
his shirt, much reverenced by big-bellied 
women." 

Relic Sunday — The third Sunday 
after Midsummer day. Old letters occur 
dated on this anniversary. It was the 
occasion, when holy relics in the churches 
and other ecclesiastical institutions were 
exhibited for worship or public curiosity. 
Remarriag'e — Under the Saxon 
and Longobardic laws, says Sir H. Ellis 
in his "Original Letters Illustrative of 
English History," 1825, the custom was 
equally enforced of a widow not marrying 
again till a year had elapsed from 
the death of her first husband. He 
adds: "The notice of a forfeiture 
of property on this account occurs 
once in the "Domes-day Survey." 
In a letter of Edward the IV. in 1477 to 
Dr. Leigh, his ambassador in Scotland, 
relating to the proposed Scotish inter- 
marriages, the king says: " Forsomoch 
also as aftre the old usaiges of this our. 
royaume noon estat ue person honnorable 
communeth of mariage within the yere of 
their doole, we therffor as yit can not 
convenientely speke in this matier." The 
following passage is from Braithwaite's 
" Boulst«r Lecture," 1640 : — " Marry 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



another, before those flowers that stuck 
his corpse be withered." 

The passage in Shakespear's Ilamlet 

very powerfully bears on this matter: — 

" Hor. My lord, I came to see your 

father's funeral. 
Bam. I pray thee, do not mock me, 
fellow-student ; I think it was to my 
mother's wedding. 
Ror. Indeed, my lord, it follow'd hard 

upon. 
Ham. Thrift, thrift, Horatio ! the 

funeral bak'd meats 
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage 
tables." 
— Act 1, sc. 2. 

Remember the Grotto.— Par- 
ties of children still occasionally go about 
in September with an oyster-shell in their 
hands, and beg money of the passers-by 
for the construction of an imaginary 
grotto. See farther in Sone and Cham- 
hers. The custom is almost extinct. 

Remora, or Echenel's. — Mon- 
taigne enters at some length into the 
belief of the ancients in the power of this 
fish to stay the progress of ships. "Many 
are of opinion," he says, "that in the 
great and last naval engagement that 
Antony lost to Augustus, his admiral gal- 
ley was stayed in the middle of her course 
by the little fish the Latins call Bemora, 
by reason of the property she has of stay- 
ing all sorts of vessels, to which she fas- 
tens herself. And the Emperor Caligula, 
sailing with a great navy upon the coast 
of Romania, his galley alone was suddenly 
stayed by the same fish, which he caused 
to be taken, fastened as it was to the 
keel of his ship, very angry that such a 
little animal could resist at once the sea, 
the wind, and the force of all his oars, 
by being merely fastened by the beak to 
his galley (nor is it a shell-fish), and was, 
moreover, not without great reason as- 
tonished that, being brought to him in the 
long boat, it had no longer the strength 
it had in the water." Essays, ed. Hazlitt, 
1902, ii, 303. 

Sir Thomas Browne doubts whether the 
story of the remora that it stays ships 
under sail be not unreasonably amplified. 
But Ross cites Scaliger as saying that this 
is as possible as for the loadstone to draw 
iron : for neither the resting of the one, 
nor moving of the other, proceeds from an 
apparent, but an occult virtue : for as in 
the one there is an hid principle of motion, 
so there is in the other a secret principle 
of quiescence. Browne's namesake, the 
pastoral poet, alludes to this strange le- 
gendary agent and power. Hazlitt's edit, 
ii, 306. 

A correspondent of the Penny Magazine 
for August, 1840, narrates his personal 



509" 

observation of the habit of this creature, 
which he describes as the Sucking-fish, and 
is from four to five inches in length, 
firmly adhering to a shark, which had 
been caught, and instantly to the side of 
a bucket of water, when it had with con- 
siderable difficulty been detached from its 
first position. 

Rent Dinner or Supper — This 
is, generally speaking, an allowance made 
to each tenant in proportion to the 
amounts paid by him to his landlord. 
Three shilhngs is perhaps a minimum. In 
the accounts of the Court of Chancery, 
as much as £150 are somtimes charged 
for a single entertainment, and oc- 
casionally the items under the head of 
liquor are very extravagant. 

Requiem. — Originally and usually a 
religious observance, but in a secondary 
sense or by poetical licence a secular tri- 
bute. The annual commemoration at 
Magdalen, Oxford, on May-Day morning 
was in its inception a requiem service- 
for Henry VII. In North's "Forest of 
Varieties," 1645, at p. 80, is preserved the 
following Requiem at the entertainment of 
Lady Rich, who died August 24th, 1638 : 

"Who 'ere you are, patron subordinate, 

Unto this House of Prayer, and doe 
extend 

Your eare and care to what we pray and 
lend : 

May this place stand for ever con- 
secrate : 

And may this ground and you propi- 
tious be 

To this once powerful, now potential 
dust, 

Concredited to your fraternal trust, 

Till friends, souls, bodies meet eternally. 

And thou her tutelary angel, who 
Wer't happy guardian to so faire a 

charge, 
leave not now part of thy care at 

large, 
But tender it as thou wer't wont to do. 

Time, common father, join with mother- 
earth, 

And though you all confound, and she 
convert, 

Favour this relique of divine desert. 

Deposited for a ne're dying birth. 

Saint, Church, Earth, Angel, Time, 
prove truly kind 

As she to you, to this bequest con- 
sign 'd." 

Rex Fabarum a.t Merton Col- 
ieg'e, Oxford. — See Christmas Prince. 

Ribbands. — I know not whether the 
following passage is to be referred to this, 
or is given only as describing the bride- 
groom's awkwardness in supping broth. 



510 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Stephens, speaking of a plain country 
bridegroom, says : ' ' Although he points 
out his bravery with ribbands, yet he hath 
no vaine glory ; for he contemnes fine 
cloathes with dropping pottage in his 
bosome." Essays, 1615. 

It is particularly stated by Lady Fan- 
shawe in her account of the marriage of 
Charles II, and Catherine of Braganza, 
at which Sir Richard Fanshawe was a 
special guest, that the bride's ribbons 
Avere cut into pieces, and distributed 
among the company. See a good note 
in Pepys, ed. 1858, i, 12. 

We see in another, under date of 
January 17j 1667-8, ithat at the mar- 
riage of Princess Anna of Prussia with 
Prince Frederic of Hesse the Ober-hof- 
meister distributed to the gentlemen 
present small pieces of ribband, on which 
it he initials of the bride were embroidered, 
■and the writer adds that this was a modi- 
'fied form of cutting up the bride's garter. 
" Formerly," he observes, " it was the 
<;ustom for a Prussian Princess, immedi- 
ately on leaving the company, to take her 
.garter from her knee, and send it to the 
king, who tied one half of it round his 
.own sword-knot, and sent the remainder 
as the most attractive present he could 
offer to a neighbouring and chivalrous 
monarch." 

In the "Gentleman's Magazine" for 
October, 1733, are "Verses sent by a 
young lady, lately married, to a quondam 
■lover, inclosing a green ribbon noozed : 

"Dear D. 

In Betty lost, consider what you lose. 

And, for the bridal knot, accept this 

nooze ; 
The healing ribbon, dextrously apply'd. 
Will make you bear the loss of such a 

bride." 

Mr. Atkinson, in his " Cleveland Glos- 
sary," 1868, says, after describing the 
race to the bride-door for the ribbon, 
which usually, as he observes, went to the 
"winner's sweetheart:" "From a MS. 
I have been permitted to make use of, 
it appears that much or all of what is 
thus described is still ' practiced at St. 
Helen's, Auckland, and other villages in 
Durham, only the handkerchief (or ribbon) 
is supposed to be a delicate substitute for 
-the bride's garter, which used to be taken 
off as she knelt at the altar.' " 

It appears that the ' ' Running for the 
Ribbon " still prevails, and Mr. Atkinson 
speaks of a tradition that the practice used 
to be to run from the gate of the church 
to the bride's house, and for the first to 
have the privilege not only of receiving 
the garter (before the ribbon or handker- 
.chief was substituted), but of removing 
it with his own hands from the lady's leg. 



This was sometimes, as it may be con- 
ceived, accomplished only by main force : 
and it is to be suspected indeed, that so 
coarse a usage was at all times very rare 
among the more educated classes. The 
same kind of contest is called in Westmore- 
land "Riding for the Ribbon." In "The 
Westmoreland Dialect," 1790, a country 
wedding is described with no little 
humour. The clergyman is represented as 
chiding the parties for not coming before 
him nine months sooner. The ceremony 
being over, we are told that ' ' Awe raaid 
haam fearful wele, an the youngans raaid 
for th' ribband, me cusen Betty banged 
awth lads and gat it for sure." 

In a Scotish ballad, called Lady Mary 
Ann, speaking of a young lad, it is said : 

We'll sew a green ribbon round about 

his hat^ 
And that will let them ken he's to marry 

yet." 

Mackay's Ballads of Scotland, 1861, p. 
197. This seems to denote that a ribband 
was also an indication of the unmarried 
state. In former times lovers brought 
home from the fairs ribbands for their 
mistresses ; but this gift would be rather 
to import an engagement. See Fairings. 
But from a passage from Pepys (Nov. 1, 
1665) it is to be inferred that a ribband on 
the hat was usual on birthdays, as Lord 
Brouncker going with the Diarist and 
others to Mrs. Williams' lodgings, they all 
had a green ribband tied in their hats, 
it being my Lord's birthday. Comp. 
May-day, Nuptial Usages, and Biding. 

ttice. — There is a common fallacy 
among sailors, that the regular use of 
rice as an article of food is conducive to 
blindness. This idea is said to proceed 
from the general use of rice by the 
Mahometans, and the prevalence among 
them of ophthalmia. The vulgar bye- 
name for rice on board ship is strike-me- 
blind. 

Richard Coeur-de-Lion. — Gib- 
bon, speaking of our Richard Plantagenet, 
Cceur de Lion, says : " the memory of this 
lion-hearted prince, at the distance of 
sixty years, was celebrated in proverbial 
sayings by the grandsons of the Turks 
and Saracens against whom he had 
fought: his tremendous name was em- 
ployed by the Syrian mothers to silence 
their infants ; and if a horse suddenly 
started from the way, his rider was wont 
to exclaim, Dost thou think King Richard 
is in that bush?" So in Richard Smith's 
TAfe of Viscountess Montague, 1627, we 
hear that Talbot comes! was an expression 
used long after the Anglo-Gallic wars, to 
terrify the French children, and still their 
cries. Life of V. M. trans, by C. F. 1627, 
sign. A 1 verso. The same is related' or 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



5" 



Narses the Greek general and of others. 
Comp. Barguest. 

A mass for the repose of the soul of 
Richard was formerly celebrated in Rouen 
Cathedral on the 6th of April, the anni- 
versary of his death, in consideration of 
300 measures or muids of wine left by him 
to the canons, and leviable on his estate 
at Rouen, as an indemnity for their losses 
through the French King. Penny Maga- 
zine for October, 1838. 

Rich, Lady Diana. — See Second 
Sight. 

Richard, St. — Aubrey, in his "Re- 
mains of Gentilism and Judaism," says : 
"This custome (the blessing of brine 
springs) is yearly observed at Droitwich 
in Worcestershire, where, on the day of 
St. Richard, (the patron or tutelar saint 
of that well, i.e. Salt Well) they keepe 
holyday, and dresse the well with green 
boughs and flowers. One yeare, sc[ilicet] 
a" [16]46, in the Presbyterian time, it was 
discontinued in the civil warres ; and after 
that the springe shranke up, or dried up 
for some time ; so afterwards they revived 
their annual custom, (notwithstanding the 
power of the parliament and soldiers), 
and the salt water returned again and still 
continues. This St. Richard was a person 
of great estate in these parts ; and a briske 
young fellow that would ride over hedge 
and ditch, and at length became a very 
devout man, and after his decease was 

canonized for a saint The 

day of the solemnization of the feast and 
dressing this well is the ninth day after 
Whitsunday." 

It is mentioned that the unexpected 
and miraculous recovery of a young child, 
over whom the wheel of a vehicle had 
passed in the street of Winterbourne 
Earls, near Salisbury, was ascribed at the 
time (a.d. 1278) to this canonized Bishop 
of Chichester. The person who drove over 
the boy is called a carter ; but that term, 
like cart, was formerly understood in a 
wider and different sense. Sussex Arch. 
Coll. i, 1178. 

Richmond. — Brand mentions that 
Douce had a curious print, entitled, 
" An exact Representation of the 
humorous Procession of the Richmond 
Wedding of Abram Kendrick and 
Mary Westurn 17. ." Two grenadiers go 
first, then the flag with a crown on it is 
carried after them : four men with hand- 
bells follow : then two men, one carrying 
a block-head, having a hat and wig on it, 
and a pair of horns, the other bearing a 
ladle : the pipe and tabor, hautboy, and 
fiddle : then the bridegroom in a chair, 
and attendants with hollyhock flowers ; 
and afterwards the bride with her atten- 
dants carrying also hollyhock flowers. 



Bride maids and bride men close the pro- 
cession. 

Riding^. — In the early part of the 
present century, the Riding for the 
Broose, a form of Winning the Kail, was 
still kept up in North Britain. The 
Glossary to Burns, 1787, describes Broose 
(a word which has the same meaning with 
" Kail,") to he " a race at country wed- 
dings, who shall first reach the bride- 
groom's house on returning from church." 
The meaning of words is every where most 
strangely corrupted. Broose was ori- 
ginally, I take it for granted, the name 
of the prize on the above occasion, and 
not of the race itself : for whoever first 
reaches the house to bring home the good 
news, wins the "Kail," i.e. a smoking 
prize of spice broth, which stands ready 
prepared to reward the victor in this 
singular kind of race. Malkin says : " 111 
may it befal the traveller, who has the 
misfortune of meeting a Welsh wedding on 
the road. He would be inclined to 
suppose that he had fallen in with a com- 
pany of lunatics escaped from their 
confinement. It is the custom of the 
whole party who are invited, both men and 
women, to ride full speed to the church- 
porch ; and the person who arrives there 
first has some privilege or distinction at 
the marriage feast. To this important 
object all inferior considerations give way ; 
whether the safety of his majesty's sub- 
jects, who are not going to be married, 
or their own, be incessantly endangered 
by boisterous, unskilful, and contentious 
jockeyship. The natives, who are ac- 
quainted with the custom, and warned 
against the cavalcade by its vociferoui 
approach, turn aside at respectful dis- 
tance : but the stranger will be fortunate 
if he escapes being overthrown by an on- 
set, the occasion of which puts out of 
sight that urbanity so generally charac- 
teristic of the people." Tour in S. Wales 
(Glamorganshire), p. 67. 

Macauiay says: "A custom formerly 
prevailed in this parish and neighbour- 
hood, of Riding for the Bride-Cake, which 
took place when the bride was brought 
home to her new habitation. A pole was 
erected in front of the house, three or 
four yards high, with the cake stuck upon 
the top of it. On the instant that the 
bride set out from her old habitation, a 
company of young men started off on 
horseback ; and he who was fortunate 
enough to reach the pole first, and knock 
down the cake with his stick, had the 
honour of receiving it from the hands of 
a damsel on the point of a wooden sword ; 
and with this trophy he returned in 
triumph to meet the bride and her at- 
tendants, who, upon their arrival in the 
village, were met by a party, whose office 



512 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



it was to adorn their liorsos' heads with 
garlands, and to present the bride with a 
posy. The last ceremony of this sort that 
took place in the parish of Claybrook was 
between sixty and seventy years ago, and 
was witnessed by a person now living in 
the parisli. Sometimes the Bride Cake was 
tried for by persons on foot, and then it 
was called, ' throwing the qviintal,' which 
was performed with heavy bars of iron ; 
thus affording a trial of muscular strength 
as well as of gallantry." This was written 
in 1791. 

A respectable clergyman informed 
Brand, that riding in a narrow laiie near 
Macclesfield in Cheshire, in the summer of 
1799, he was suddenly overtaken (and in- 
deed they had well nigh rode over him) 
by a nuptial party at full speed, who 
before they put up at an inn in the town, 
described several circles round the market- 
place, or rode, as it were, several rings. 
Comp. Bodmin Siding, and Langholme. 

All these Hiding customs seem to 
refer back to a period of intertribal life, 
when wives and other property were lifted 
from adjoining communities on the Sabine 
principle and were continued, as was so 
often the case, as a sport, when they had 
been superseded as a necessity. 

Ridingr at the Ring— In the 
" Statistical Account of Scotland," 
Parish of Dunkeld, Perthshire, we have 
an account of a diversion with this 
name. " To prevent that intemper- 
ance," the writer says, " to which social 
meetings in such situations are sometimes 
prone, they spend the evening in some pub- 
lic cornpetition of dexterity or skill. Of 
these. Riding at the Ring (an amusement 
of antient and warlike origin,) is the chief. 
Two perpendicular posts are erected on 
this occasion, with a cross-beam, from 
which is suspended a small ring : the com- 
petitors are on horseback, each having a 
pointed rod in his hand ; and he who, at 
full gallop, passing betwixt the posts, 
carries away the ring on his rod, gains the 
prize." vol. xx., p. 433. Comp. Baces. 

Rifling' or Raflling. — It is thus 
mentioned (without being described) in a 
letter from the Common Serjeant of Lon- 
don to Sir W. Cecil, Sept. 4, 1569 : "—At 
my nowe comynge thither (to Westmin- 
ster) M'' Staunton and others of th' 
inhabitants of the said cytie (of West- 
minster) gave me to understande that 
there was a great disorder in or near Long 
Acre, by reason of certain games that 
were proclaymed there to be exercised, 
wheare indede theare was none used but 
one onlie game, called riflinge, by which 
they said diverse persons weare spoyled 
and utterlie undon. Wlierupnon I 
comaunded M' Cobbrande the highe con- 
stable of the saide cytie and lyberties 



(taking with hym suche number of petit 
constables and others as to his discression 
sholde seme mete, and sendinge before 
worde to the constable of S« Gyles in the 
feildes to mete hym theare) to goe thither, 
and not onlie to apprehende all persones 
that sholde be founde theare usinge the 
same game, but also them that kepte the 

same games Wheruppon the 

keper of the same games was broughte 
before me, but none of them that played 
theare : and yet one of my owne servants, 
whom I sent pryvylie thither for that pur- 
pose, did see that game of ryflinge in use 
there at that tyme." Lysons Env. of 
London, 1st. ed. ii, 55. 

Rifling is mentioned in the Nomenda- 
tor of Junius, 1585. Comp. Halliwell in v. 
Baffling is from raff, a gathering of people, 
not necessarily at first in a contemptuous 
sense. 

In the Brentford Accounts for the Whit- 
suntide Ale, 1624, among the sports, by 
wliich money was made, occurs Bifiing, 
which produced £2. 

Ring. — Misson, speaking of Hyde 
Park, " at the end of one of the suburbs 
of London," says: "Here the people of 
fashion take the diversion of the ring. In 
a pretty high place, which lies very open, 
they have surrounded a circumference of 
two or three hundred paces diameter with 
a sorry kind of ballustrade, or rather with 
poles placed upon stakes, but three foot 
from the ground ; and the coaches drive 
round and round this. When they have 
turn'd for some time round one way, they 
face about and turn t'other : so rowls the 
world." 

Ringers. — At South Brent, Devon- 
shire, the annual custom is still observed 
of calling on new bell-ringers to sign the 
Ringer's Book, and of electing a Lord 
Chief. Daily Mail, November 7, 1903. 
There seem to have been throughout the 
country Honorable Societies of Ringers, 
at whose obsequies special observances 
wei'e appointed. 

Rings. — Swinburne writes: "The 
first inventor of the ring, as is reported, 
was one Prometheus." But he adds: 
' ' The workman which made it was 
Tubal-Cain : and Tubal-Cain, by the 
counsel of our first parent Adam, (as 
my author tells me) gave it unto 
his son to this end, that therewith 
he should espouse a wife, like as Abraham 
delivered unto his servant bracelets and 
ear-rings of gold. The form of the ring 
being circular, that is round and without 
end, importeth thus much, that their 
mutual love and hearty affection should 
roundly flow from the one to the other as 
in a circle, and that continually and for 
ever." Tr. on Spousals, p. 207. He 
quotes Alberic de Rosa Diet. v. Annulus, 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



513 



He axJds : " I do observe, that in former 
ages it was not tolerated to single or mar- 
ried persons to wear rings, unless they 
were judges, doctors, or senators, or such 
like honourable persons : so that being 
destitute of such dignity, it was a note of 
vanity, lasciviousness, and pride, for them 
to presume to wear a ring, whereby we 
may collect how greatly they did honour 
and reverence the sacred estate of wedlock 
in times past, in permitting the parties 
affianced to be adorned with the honour- 
able ornament of the ring." 

In 1477 the newly married Margery 
Paston sends her absent husband a ring 
with the image of St. Margaret as a re- 
membrance, till he returns. Paston 
Letters, iii, 215. 

Some very interesting remarks and in- 
formation on this subject occur in Beloe's 
Aulus Gellius, ii, 216-17. The class of ring 
set with an intaglio or cameo was formerly 
general. In a fine three-quarter portait 
of Shakespear, CEtatis Suce_ 47. A'' 1611, 
engraved from an original picture in 1846, 
he wears one with a small medallion on his 
thumb. 

Rings, Betrothal. — The usage of 
lovers wearing on holidays the rings given 
to them by their mistresses, may seem to 
be partly borne out by Chavicer, although 
the reference occurs in a poem which was 
little more than a paraphrase of Boccac- 
cio's Filostrato. In the second book of 
Troilus and Cressida the poet makes 
Troilus and Cressida exchange rings, " of 
wych," he adds, " I cannot telle no scrip- 
ture ;" that is, I cannot say what were the 
posies. 

On the site of the battle of Wakefield, 
where Richard Duke of York fell in 1460, 
a gold ring was long afterward found, and 
passed into the hands of Ralph Thoresby. 
It had the motto : Pour bon Amour, with 
the effigies of the three saints, and was 
supposed to have belonged to the Duke. 

In the Merchant of Venice, Nerissa 
gives Gratiano 

" — a hoop of gold, a paltry ring . . . 
whose posy was 

For all the world, like cutler's poetry 
Upon a knife, ' Love me, and leave me 

not' " 

and Gratiano has given it away, just as it 
turns out presently, that Bassanio has 
done with that which he received from 
Portia. 

In Davison's " Poetical Rapsody," 1602, 
occurs a beautiful sonnet, " Upon sending 
his mistresse a gold ring, with this poesie. 
Pure and Endlesse." In the poem of 
"The Milkmaids," printed in "Wit 
Restor'd," 1658, the milkmaids are re- 
presented as wearing jet-rings, with 
posies — Yours more then his owne. Wood- 



ward, in his Poems, 1730, has the following 
lines : 

" To Phiehc, prcsevtino her with a ring, 
" Accept, fair-maid, this earnest of my 

love. 
Be this the type, let this my passion 

prove : 
Thus may our joy in endless circles run, 
Fresh as the light, and restless as the 

sun : 
Thus may our lives be one perpetual 

round. 
Nor care nor sorrow ever shall be 

found." 
The rings presented by a mistress to 
her lover may be supposed to have been 
worn only on special occasions, for in 
England's Helicon, 1600, we have: 

" My songs they be of Cinthia's prayse 
I \\eare her rings on holly-days." 
It was a prevailing superstition, that the 
holder of a ring, given by a lover to his 
mistress, or the reverse, could detect in- 
constancy by the loss of lustre in the 
stones. In the ballad of liyncl Horn, the 
lady presents the ring to Horn before 
his departure on a voyage: — 

" He's left the land, and he's gone to 

the sea. 
An he's stayed there seven years and 

a day. 
Seven lang years he has been on the sea. 
And Hynd Horn has looked how his ring 

maybe. 
But when he looked this ring upon. 
The diamonds were both pale and 

wan — " 

The hero returns home at once, only in 
time to save his sweetheart from marry- 
ing some one else. 

In the old lace-making days in Bucking- 
hamshire it was not unusual for lads to 
give their mistresses a set of bobbins at- 
tached to a button from their dress, 
instead of an engagement-ring. 

It clearly appears from the Paston 
Letter that it was a custom for a 
third party to be entrusted with the be- 
trothal or engagement ring, and to carry 
it about his person, waiting in succession 
on certain ladies selected beforehand ; 
this was, where the alliance was almost 
purely a matter of business or expediency. 
And we learn from the same source, that 
an engagement once contracted could not 
be dissolved without a papal dispensation, 
which was extremely troublesome and 
costly. The Italian proctor mentioned in 
the case of Sir John Paston about 1473, 
that the expenses would be 1000 ducats, 
which was taken to mean 100 or at most 
200. A friend, writing to Paston, in- 
formed him that this kind of transaction 
was of almost daily occurrence at Rome — 



514 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



" Papa hoc facit hodiernis diebus multo- 
ciens." P. L. ed. Gairdner, iii, 101. 

Ring's, Cramp and other Phy- 
sical.— At Coventry in 1802 and at 
Hackney in 1894 were found gold inscribed 
rings intended to protect the wearers 
against cramp and other diseases. In that 
dug up at Hackney, besides the Latin 
motto allusive to the Five Wounds of 
Christ, were figures of the Crucifixion, Vir- 
gin and child, &c. Antiquary for Novem- 
ber, 1894. Comp. Cramp-Bings supra. 

In Cartwright's Ordinary, apparently 
written in 1634, the Antiquary betrothes 
the widow Potluck with his biggest cramp- 
ring. The following extract of a letter 
from Sir Christopher Hatton to Sir 
Thomas Smith, dated Sept. 11, 158 — , was 
read before the Society of Antiquaries by 
Dr. Morell on the 12th of November, 1772 : 
' ' I am likewise bold to recommend my 
most humble duty to our dear Mistress 
(Queen Elizabeth) by this letter and ring, 
which hath the virtue to expell infectious 
airs, and is (as it telleth me) to be worn 
betwixt the sweet duggs, the chaste nest 
of pure constancy. I trust, sir, when the 
virtue is known, it shall not he refused 
for the value." Minute Booh of the Soc. 
of Antiq., Nov. 12, 1772. The letter, 
which was copied from one of the Ilarl. 
MSS., relates to an epidemical disorder, 
at that time very alarming. "Mr. Wright 
presented an engraving from a sardonyx, 
which formerly belonged to the Monas- 
tery of St. Alb an 's : the use of it, we are 
told, was to procure early births to 
labouring women, by being laid, in the 
time of travail, inter mammas." — Ibid. 
March 11, 1773. 

Ring's, Enchanted or Magi- 
cal. — See Wright's Domestic Manners, 
1862, p. 268-9. These are features in 
European as well as Oriental fiction, the 
idea having perhaps originated in the 
East. 

Rings, Funeral. — See Funeral 
Customs. It may here be added that 
under his will, 1637, Sir Henry Wotton, 
Provost of Eton, left to each fel- 
low of the College a plain gold ring 
enamelled black, except the verge, with 
this motto within : Amor unit omnia, 
lieliquice Wottoniance, 1672, e 3. 

Rings, Garter or George 

Gold rings, sometimes made garter-wise, 
and with the same motto as belongs to the 
order, and presented by a new knight to 
his relations. These objects are occasion- 
ally found with the figure of a knight or 
horseman slaying a dragon, but whether 
St. George or St. Michael, is doubtful. 
Beliquim Hearniance, ed. 1869, i, 172. 

Rings, Gimnial. — A joint ring 
(Lat. Gemellus) anciently a common token 
among betrothed lovers, and such rings 



we find from existing specimens to have 
been in use among the Jews. Miscellanea 
Graphica, 1857, Plate x ; Archaeologia, xiv, 
7; Nares, 1859, in v. The following re- 
markable passage is to bo found in 
Greene's " Menaphon, 1589," sign, k 4 b ; 
" 'Twas a good world when such simpli- 
citie was used, sayes the olde women of 
our time, when a ring of a rush would 
tye as much love together as a gimraon of 
gold." 

In the play of Lingua, 1607, ii, 4, Anam- 
nestes (Memory's page) is described as 
having, amongst other tilings, " a eimmal 
ring, with one link hanging." Merrick 
mentions this as a love token. Morgan 
in his Sphere of Gentry, 1661, mentions 
three triple gimbal rings as borne by a 
family of the name of Hawberke, in the 
county of Leicester. In Dryden's " Don 
Sebastian," 1690, one of these rings is 
worn by Sebastian's father : the other by 
Almeyda's mother, as pledges of love. 
Sebastian pulls off his, which hao ocen 
put on his finger by his dying father : 
Almeyda does the same with hers, which 
had been given her by her mother at 
parting : and Alvarez unscrews both the 
rings, and fits one half to the other. 

Rings or Pieces, Sacrament. 
— In Berkshire there is a popular super- 
stition that a ring made from a piece of 
silver collected at the communion, is a 
cure for convulsions and fits of every kind. 
It should seem that that collected on 
Easter Sunday is peculiarly efficacious. 
Gents. Mag., for May and July, 1794. It 
is recorded that that silver ring will cure 
fits, which is made of five sixpences, col- 
lected from five different bachelors, to be 
conveyed by the hand of a bachelor to 
a smith that is a bachelor. None of the 
persons who gave the sixpences are to 
know for what purpose, or to whom, they 
gave them. A similar superstition is still, 
or was at least very recently, entertained 
(with trifling differences in the particu- 
lars) in Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, and 
East Anglia. In the former, thirty 
pennies collected from thirty different 
people, who were to be kept in ignorance 
of the object for which the money was 
asked, are exchanged for a half-crown of 
sacrament-money, and out of the latter 
is made a ring, which the patient wears 
till he is cured. The Gloucestershire be- 
lief is almost identical, and an instance 
has been known in which a, man has worn 
this ring for three or four years in perfect 
reliance on its ultimate virtue, and has 
at last died with it on his fifth finger. In 
Cleveland, co. York, this is called the 
sacrament-piece, and Mr. Atkinson speaks 
of the thirty penny-pieces being drilled, 
and a ribbon passed through them, so as 
to form a kind of necklace, which is worn 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



515 



by the patient or believer as a charm 
against epilepsy. The necklace here was 
supposed to have the same property as the 
ring before described. 

One may trace the same crafty motive 
for this superstition, as in the money given 
upon touching for the king's evil. It is 
stated that in Devonshire there is a simi- 
lar custom : the materials, however, are 
different ; the ring must be made of three 
nails, or screws which have been used to 
fasten a coffin, and must be dug out of the 
churchyard." Gents. Mag. 1794, p. 889. 

Rings, Rush. — A custom extremely 
hurtful to the interests of morality ap- 
pears anciently to have prevailed both in 
England and other countries, of marrying 
with a rush ring ; chiefly practised, how- 
ever, by designing men, for the purpose 
of debauching their mistresses, who some- 
times were so infatuated as to believe that 
this mock ceremony was a real marriage. 
This abuse was strictly prohibited by the 
Constitutions of Richard, Bishop of Salis- 
bury, in 1217. It seems, however, that 
this description of rings was in a manner 
countenanced by the authorities in civil 
contracts in France, where the contracting 
parties had been imprudent, and it was 
thought desirable to cover the shame of 
the families concerned. Douce refers 
Shakespear's expression, " Tib's rush for 
Tom's forefinger," which has so long 
puzzled the commentators, to this custom. 
In Ouarles' " Shepheards Oracles," 1646, 
p. 63, is the following passage : 

" The musick of the oaten reeds per- 

swades 
Their hearts to mirth — 
And whilst they sport and dance, the 

love-sick swains 
Compose rush-rings and myrtleberry 

chains, 
And stuck with glorious king-cups and 

their bonnets 
Adorn'd with lawrell-slips, chaunt their 

love-sonnets. 
To stir the fires and to encrease the 

flames. 
In the cold hearts of their beloved 

dames." 
Comp. Troth-Plioht. 

Rings, Serjeants'.— It used to be 
customary for the serjeants-at-law, upon 
■creation, to present to the judges a ring, 
with a posy or motto. The late Mr. 
Commissioner Fonblanque was present, 
when the subject of the posy for one of 
the.se rings happened to be in discussion, 
and was asked, what was his opinion of 
To Wit ? " Yes," he playfully and wittily 
replied, "that would do very well; — but 
:you should turn it into Latin — Scilicet!" 

Prynne, by his will made in 1669, be- 
<iueathed, among other things, to his dear 



sister, Katherine Gierke, his " best Ser- 
jeant's ring." " Wills from Doctors' 
Commons," 1863, p. 125. 

Rings, Slieriffs'.— At Chester, out 
of certain charitable funds, it was a for- 
mer practice to present the mayor with 
40/- and the sheriff with 30/-. for the 
purchase of rings ; but subsequently this 
grant was discontinued, and the ring for 
the sheriff was then provided by private 
subscription. Antiquary, February, 1897. 

Rings, Signet. — The signet-ring was 
often employetl as a medium of communi- 
cation and a token, where the owner 
desired to transmit verbal instructions of 
important bearing by a messenger. 

The authority of Joseph was symbolized 
by the one, which Thothmes IV. called 
Pharaoh took from his own finger, and 
placed on that of the son of Jacob ; and 
these ornaments and emblems, fifteen 
hundred years prior to the birth of Christ, 
are found with the Cross as part of the 
legend. 

When Craiimer leaves Henry VIII. to go 
before the Council, the King delivers to 
the prelate his ring as a protection, and, 
again, John Penri the chief mover in 
the Martin Marprelate business obtains 
access to Sir Richard Knightley's house at 
Fawsley as the bearer of Sir Richard's 
ring. Arber's Introd. to Martin Mar- 
prelate Controversy, 1879, 127 ; Hazlitt's 
Shakespear's Library, Part 1, vol. iv, p. 
109 ; Idem, Popular Poetry of Scotland, 
1895, ii, 104. In his Domestic Manners 
and Sentiments in England during the 
Middle Ages, 1862, pp. 266-8, Mr. Wright 
introduces several interesting particulars 
and illustrations of this subject. 

Rings, Wedding. — Among the cus- 
toms used at marriages, those of the ring 
and bride-cake seem of the most remote 
antiquity. Confarreation and the ring 
were used anciently as binding ceremonies 
by the heathens, in making agreements, 
grants, &c. whence they have doubtless 
been derived to the most solemn of our 
engagements. Columbiere, speaking of 
rings, says : " The hieroglyphic of the ring 
is very various. Some of the antients 
made it to denote servitude, alledging 
that the bridegroom was to give it to his 
bride, to denote to her that .she is to be 
subject to him, which Pythagoras seemed 
to confirm^ when he prohibited wearing a 
streight ring, that is, not to submit to 
over-rigid servitude." It appears from 
Aulus Gellius, that the ancient Greeks and 
most of the Romans wore the ring "in eo 
digito qui est in manu sinistra minimo 
proximus." He adds, on the authority 
of Appian, that a small nerve runs from 
this finger to the heart ; and that there- 
fore it was honoured with the office of 
bearing the ring, on account of its con- 



Si6 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



nexion with that master mover of the 
vital functions. Nodes, x, 10. Macro- 
bius assigns the same reason, but also 
quotes the opinion of Ateius Capito, that 
the right hand was exempt from this office, 
because it was much more used than the 
left, and therefore the precious stones of 
the rings were liable to be broken ; and 
that the finger of the left hand was 
selected, which was the least used. 
" Saturnal." lib. vii. c. 13. For the ring 
having been used by the Romans at their 
marriages, consult Juvenal, Sat. vi. v. 27. 

Lemnius tells us, speaking of the ring- 
finger that " a small branch of the arterie, 
and not of the nerves, as Uellius thought, 
is stretched forth from the heart unto 
this finger, the motion whereof you shall 
perceive evidently in women with child 
and wearied in travel, and all efi^ects of the 
heart, by the touch of your fore finger. 
I use to raise such as are fallen in a 
swoon by pinching this joynt, and by 
rubbing the ring of gold with a little 
saffron, for by this a restoring force that 
is in it, passeth to the heart, and re- 
fresheth the fountain of life, unto which 
this finger is join'd : wherefore it deserved 
that honour above the rest, and antiquity 
thought fit to compasse it about with gold. 
Also the worth or this finger that it re- 
ceives from the heart, procured thus much, 
that the old physitians, from whence also 
it hath the name of inedicus, would mingle 
their medicaments and potions with this 
finger, for no vemon can stick upon the 
very outmost part of it, but it will offend a 
man, and communicate itself to his heart." 

The supposed heathen origin of our 
marriage ring had well nigh caused the 
abolition of it, during the time of the 
Commonwealth. In the Hereford, York, 
and Salisbury missals, the ring is directed 
to be put first upon the thumb, afterwards 
upon the second, then on the third, and 
lastly on the fourth finger, where it is to 
remain, "quia in illo digito est quedam 
vena procedens usque ad Cor " — an 
opinion exploded by modern anatomy. It 
is very observable that none of the above 
missals mentions the hand, whether right 
or left, upon which the ring is to be put. 
This has been noticed by Selden in his 
" Uxor Hebraica." 

The "Hereford Missal" inquires: 
" Qusero quse est ratio ista, quare Annulus 
ponatur in quarto digito cum poUice com- 
putato, quam in secundo vel tercio? 
isidorus dicit quod qusedam vena extendit 
se a digito illo usque ad Cor, et dat in- 
telligere unitatem et perfectionem 
Amoris." The same rubric occurs in the 
" Sarum Missal:" — " ibique (snonsus) 
dimittat annulum, quia in medico est 
qusedam vena procedens usque ad cor — " 
But the " Sarum Missal " lays down with 



unmistakable precision the mode in which 
the husband shall take the ring from the 
minister — with the three first fingers of 
the right hand, and while he repeats after 
the minister, " With this ring I thee 
wed," &c. he is directed to hold his wife's 
right hand in his own left (manu sua 
sinistra tenens dexteram sponsoej. This 
may rather favour the notion that the 
ring was placed on the woman's left hand. 
Comp. Halliwell's Archaic Dictionary, 
1860, in V. 

The "British Apollo" affords, at all 
events, an utilitarian argument in favour 
of the fourth finger of the left hand. It 
says : ' ' There is nothing more in this, 
than that the custom was handed down tO' 
the present age from the practice of our 
ancestors, who found the left hand more 
convenient for such ornaments than the- 
right, in that it's ever less employed, for 
the same reason they choose the fourth 
finger, which is not less used than either 
of the rest, but is more capable of pre- 
serving a ring from bruises, having this 
one quality peculiar to itself, that it can- 
not be extended but in company with some 
other finger, whereas the rest may be 
singly stretched to their full length and 
streightness." 

Of the popish hallowing of this ring 
the following form occurs in "The 
Doctrine of the Masse Booke," 1554. 
"The halowing of the womans ring at 
wedding. ' Thou Maker and Conserver of 
mankinde, gever of spiritual grace and 
graunter of eternal salvation, Lord, send 
thy ^ blessing upon this ring,' (Here tho' 
Protestant translator observes in the mar- 
gin, 'Is not here wise geare?') that she- 
which shall weare it, maye be armed wyth 
the vertue of heavenly defence, and that 
it maye profit her to eternall salvation, 
thorowe Christ, &c. 

' A Prayer. 
>J<' Halow thou Lord this ring which we 
blesse in thy holye name : that what 
woman soever shall weare it. may stand 
fast in thy peace, and continue in thy 
wyl, and live and grow and waxe old in 
thy love, and be multiplied into that 
length of dales, thorow our Lord, &C.'' 
' Then let holy water be sprinkled upon 
the ryng.' " 

There seems to be no proof that in our 
ancient ceremony at marriages the man 
received as well as gave the ring : nor do- 
I think the custom at all exemplified by 
the quotation from Lupton's first book of 
"Notable Things." The expression is 
equivocal, and " his maryage ring," I 
should think, means no more than the ring 
used at his marriage, that which he gave 
and which his wife received : at least we 
are not warranted to interpret it at 
present any otherwise, till some passage 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



517 



can actually be adduced from the ancient 
manuscript rituals to evince that there 
ever did at marriages take place such 
" Interchangement of rings," a custom 
which however certainly formed one of the 
most prominent features of the ancient 
betrothing ceremony. Yet concession 
must be made that the bridegroom appears 
to have had a ring given him as well as 
the bride in the Diocese of Bordeaux in 
France. 

I observe in the will of Anne Barett, of 
Bury St. Edmunds, made in 1504, a 
curious provision, by which the testatrix 
bequeathed to Our Lady of Walsingham, 
her " corall bedys of thrys fyfty, and ray 
maryeng ryng, v/^ all t'hyngys hangyng 
theron." I do not understand this allusion 
thoroughly ; but I suppose that it may 
have some reference to charms at that 
time worn suspended from the wedding- 
ring. Bury Wills and Inrrntories, 1850, 
p. 95. In the will of William Lenthall, 
the celebrated Speaker of the House of 
Commons, rnade in 1662, the testator de- 
sires that his son will wear his mother's 
wedding-ring about his arm, in re- 
membrance of her. I presume he meant, 
tied to the arm by a ribbon. Wills from 
Doctors' Commons, 1863, p. 18. 

Lady Fanshawe, in her Memoirs, men- 
tions that she was married with her 
mother's wedding-ring, which her father 
gave her for the purpose. Her words are : 
" None was at our wedding but my dear 
father, who, at my mother's desire, gave 
me her wedding-ring, with which I was 
married . . ." 

The loss of the wedding-ring was con- 
sidered an evil portent even in the time 
of Charles I. In the " Autobiography of 
Sir John Bramston," under the d^te of 
1631, where he describes the voyage over 
from Dublin to Holyhead, with his father 
and new step-mother, there is an account 
of the latter dropping her wedding-ring 
into the sea, near the shore, as they were 
riding on horseback along the beach. The 
writer says : "As shee (his step-mother) 
rode over the sands behind me, and pulling 
off her glove, her wedding-ringe fell off, 
and sunck instantly. She caused her man 
to alight ; she sate still behind me, and 
kept her eye on the place. Directed her 
man, but he not gues.sing well, she leaned 
off, saying she would not stirr without her 
ringe, it beinge the most vnfortunate 
thinge that could befall any one to loose 
the weddinge ringe." The ring was at 
last, after great search and trouble, re- 
covered. 

Many married women are so rigid, not 
to say superstitious, in their notions con- 
cerning their wedding rings, that neither 
when they wash their hands, nor at any 
other time, will they take it off from 



their finger, extending, it should seem, the 
expression of "till death us do part" 
even to this golden circlet, the token and 
pledge of matrimony. This feeling still 
remains very prevalent among all classes. 
There is an old proverb on the subject of 
wedding rings, which has no doubt been 
many a time quoted for the purpose of 
encouraging and hastening the consent of 
n diffident or timorous mistress : 

" As your wedding-ring wears, 
You'll wear off your cares." 

Rings appear to have been given away 
formerly at weddings. In Wood's 
" Athenaj," we read in the account of the 
famous philosopher of Queen Elizabeth's 
days, Edward Kelley, " Kelley, who was 
openly profuse beyond the modest limits- 
of a sober philosopher, did give away in 
gold-wire rings, (or rings twisted with 
three gold-wires,) at the marriage of one 
of his muid-servants, to the value of 
4000Z." This was in 1589 at Trebona. 

Not only is the religious service supere- 
rogatory, but the ring is not essential, and 
forms no nart of the ceremony under the 
Act 6 & 7 Will. IV. cap. 85. The sole 
original object of the ring was a con- 
firmation of betrothal. A registrar may 
not sanction the use of the ring ; this is 
expressly laid down in 19 & 20 Vict. c. 
119. A bridegroom in Herefordshire pro- 
duced on one occasion the symbol, and was 
requested to put it back into his pocket, 
as it was a mere graft on the service in 
the Church. 

Ripon. — In commemoration of the 
return of St. Wilfred, patron-saiut of 
Ripon, from Rome to Ripon in the seventh 
century, an annual procession round th>? 
city, preceded by the Royal Volunteer 
Band, takes place on the 29th July. 
The central figure is an effigy of the saint 
arrayed in his pontificals and carrying in 
his hand a crozier. On the Sunday the' 
Mayor and Corporation attend divine 
service in their robes of office at the 
cathedral. Avtiqvnry. 1882, r>. 129. 
Biponiensis in the Genileman's Maqazine 
for 1790, says: "I think the day before 
Holy Thvrsday all the clergy, attended by 
the singing men and boys of the choir, 
perambulate the town in their canonicals, 
singing Hymns : and the Blue-Coat 
Charity boys follow, singing, with green 
boughs in their hands." 

On Christmas Eve, the grocers used in 
1790 to send each of their customers ;i 
pound, or half a pound, of currants an<l 
raisins to make a Christmas ouddinor, tl'.f> 
chandlers, large mold candles and the 
coopers logs of wood, generally called 
Yule clogs, which were ahvays used en 
this anniversary : but should the log be so 
large as not to be all burned that night. 



5i8 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



the remains are kept till Old Christmas 
Eve. Gentl. Mag. vol. Ix. p. 719. 

On Christmas Day, the singing boys 
came into the collegiate church with large 
baskets full of red apples, with a sprig of 
rosemary stuck in each, which they pre- 
sented to all the congregation, and 
generally had a return made them of 2d. 
4d. or 6(i. according to the quality of the 
lady or gentlman. 

At nine o'clock every evening, a man 
used to blow a large horn at the market 
cross and then at the mayor's door. 

The Sunday before Candlemas Day, 
the collegiate church used to be 
one continued blaze of light all the 
afternoon by an immense number of 
candles. Some years ago no traveller 
could pass the town on Easter Day 
without being stopped, and having his 
spurs taken away, unless redeemed by 
a little money, which was the only way to 
have your buckles returned. On the eve 
of All Saints, the good women made a 
cake for every one in the family : so this 
was generally called Cake Night. 

Robin Goodfeilow^. — In Mr. 
Wright's paper " On Friar Rush and the 
Frolicsome Elves," inserted among his 
collected Essays, 1846, he has noticed a 
trace of our Robin in a MS. of the thir- 
teenth century. There is a story there 
given, which shews that he was known to 
our forefathers as early as the reign of 
Richard Lion-Heart, perhaps, and was 
then understood to possess the character- 
istics with which Shakespear and Jonson 
invested him three centuries later. 

Gervase of Tilbury describes two spirits, 
of whom one had attributes not unsimilar, 
according to him, to those of Robin Good- 
fellow. They were called, he tells us, 
Portuni and Grant. The Portuni were 
of diminutive proportions, but " senili 
vulta, facie corrugata." He goes on to say : 
"If any thing should be to be carried 
on in the house, or any kind of laborious 
work to be done, they join themselves to 
the work, and expedite it with more than 
human facility. It is natural to these 
that they may be obsequious, and may not 
be hurtful. But one little mode, as it 
were, they have of hurting ; for when, 
among the ambiguous shades of night, the 
English occasionally ride alone, the por- 
tune sometimes gets up behind him un- 
seen ; and when he has accompanied him, 
going on a very long time, at length, the 
bridle being seized, he leads him up to the 
hand in the mud, in which, while infixed, 
he wallows, the portune, departing, sets 
up a laugh ; and so, in this way, derides 
human simplicity." 

Robin Goodfellow, alias Pucke, alias 
Hobgoblin, says Percy, in the creed of 
ancieut superstition was a kind of merry 



sprite whose character and achievements 
are recorded in the ballad, commencing 

" From Oberon, in fairy land — " 

which is printed at length in the present 
writer's Fairy Tales, &c. 1875, and is 
usually ascribed to Jonson's pen. There 
were several printed editions of it as a 
broadside ; but Mr. Collier had an early 
MS. copy, in which Jonson's initials are 
appended. This may be regarded as a 
certain, but not as a conclusive, proof of 
his authorship. The earliest allusion to 
him by name which has occurred to me 
is in one of the Paston Papers under the 
date of 1489, where the Northern Rebels' 
proclamation is said to be "in the name of 
Mayster Hobbe Hyrste, Robyn Godfelaws 
brodyr he is, as I trow." 

It was a proverbial saying, to judge 
from a passage in Harman's " Caveat for 
comen Cursetors," 1567, "Robin Good- 
fellow has been with you to-night," in 
allusion to a person who has been visited 
by some annoyance or misadventure. 
Reginald Scot gives an account of this 
frolicksome spirit: "Your grandames 
rnaids were wont to set a bowl of milk for 
him, for his pains in grinding malt and 
mustard, and sweeping the house at mid- 
night — this white bread, and bread and 
milk, was his standing fee." Discovery, 
1584, p. 66. In Rowlands' " More Knaves 
Yet," first printe<l before or in 1600, is the 
following passage of " Ghoasts and Gob- 
lins." : 

"In old wives daies, that in old time 

did live 
(To those odd tales much credit men 

did give) 
Great store of goblins, fairies, bugs, 

night-mares. 
Urchins, and elves, to many a house 

rep aires. 
Yea, far more sprites did haunt in divers 

places 
Then there be women now weare devils 

faces. 
Amongst the rest was a goodfellow devil 
So cal'd in kindnes, cause he did no 

evill, 
Knowne by the name of Robin (as we 

heare) , 
And that his eyes as broad as sawcers 

weare, 
Who came by nights and would make 

kitchens cleane. 
And in the bed bepinch a lazy queane. 
Was much in mils about the grinding 

meal 
(And sure I take it taught the miller 

steale) : 
Amongst the cream-bowles and milke- 

pans would be, 
And with the country wenches, who 

but he 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



519 



To wash their dishes for some fresh 

cheese-hire, 
Or set their pots and kettles 'bout the 

fire. 
'Twas a mad Robin tliat did divers 

pranckes, 
For which with some good cheare they 

gave him thankes, 
And that was all the kindness he ex- 
pected, 
With gaine (it seems) he was not much 

infected." 
Harsnet thus speaks of him: "And if 
that the bowle of curds and creame were 
not duly set out for Robin Goodfellow, the 
frier, and Sisle the dairy-maid, why then 
either the pottage was burnt the next day 
ill the pot, or the cheeses would not curdle, 
or the butter would not come, or the ale 
in the fat never would have good head. 
But, if a Peeter-penny, or an housle-egge 
were behind, or a patch of tythe unpaid, 
then 'ware of bull-beggars, sprites, &o." 
Declaration of Ec/regious Popish Impos- 
tures, 1603, ch. 20. He is mentioned by 
Cartwright in the Ordinary, written about 
1634, as a spirit particularly fond of dis- 
concerting and disturbing domestic peace 
and economy. Shakespear has also given 
us a description of Robin Goodfellow, in 
■"A Midsummer-Nights Dream," 1600: 
"Either I mistake your shape and 

making quite. 
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish 

sprite, 
Call'd Robin Good-fellow : are you 

not he, 
That frights the maidens of the vil- 

lagery ; 
Skims milk ; and sometimes labours in 

the quern. 
And bootless makes the breathless house- 
wife churn ; 
And sometimes makes the drink to bear 

no barm ; 
Misleads night-wanderers, laughing at 

their harm ? 
Those that hobgoblins call you, and 

sweet Puck, 
You do their work, and they shall have 
good luck." 
The Merry Pranks, 1628, declares : 
" 'Tis not your garments new or old 
That Robin loves ; I feele no cold. 
Had you left me milke or creame, 
You should have had a pleasing 
dreame." 

In Apothegmes of King James, 1658, 
p. 139, is a passage seeming to shew that 
persons of the first distinction were an- 
<iently no strangers to the characters of 
fairies. " Sir Fulk Greenvil had much 
and private accesse to Queen Elizabeth, 
which he used honourably, and did many 
men good. Yet he would say merrily of 
himself, that he was like Robin Good- 



fellow, for when the maides spilt the milk- 
pannes, or kept any racket, they would 
lay it upon Robin, so what tales the ladies 
about the Queen told her, or other bad 
offices that they did, they would put it 
upon him." Mr. Cooper, in a very in- 
teresting note to his " Sussex Vocabu- 
lary," 1853, observes, "A belief in the 
freaks of Puck, Robin Goodfellow, and 
their ' ryght merrie colleagues,' was 
formerly very prevalent in Sussex, parti- 
cularly on the Southdowns, where the 
hag-tracks or pharirings were considered 
positive proofs of their existence." Mr. 
Blencoe, quoted by the same writer, ad- 
duces, in proof of the deep root of this 
superstition, the numerous forms which 
bear names connected with Puck, such as 
Pookyde, Pookbourne, Pook-hole, Pook- 
croft : but I regard this etvmology as ver,y 
questionable. The French Oohelin, from 
which we get our goblin, possesses many of 
the attributes of Robin, and may be con- 
sidered as his counterpart in France. 

Robin Hood. — The romantic legend 
about Maid Marian and Robin Hood 
having been of noble birth, she daughter 
of Lord Fitzwater, and he Earl of Hunt- 
ingdon, is no longer credited, nor is it 
probably of any great antiquity. Hazlitt's 
Tales and Legends, 1892, p. 241 et seqo.. 
where will be found an Essay on the 
subject written on new lines, and em- 
bodying the latest information. Latimer, 
in ills sixth sermon before Edward the 
Sixth, mentions Robin Hood's Day, kept 
by country people in memory of him, and 
in a passage too well known to bear 
quotation, tells us how he, the preacher, 
" was fayne to giue place to Robin Hoodes 
men." Machyn the Diarist says, 1559: 
" The xxiiij day of June, ther was a May- 
game . . . with a gyant and drumes 
and gunes, and the ix wordes (worthies) 
with spechys, and a goodly pagant with a 
quen c . . and dyvers odur, with 

snechvs : and then sant Gorge and the 
dragon, the mores dansse, and after Robyn 
Hode and Ivtvll John, and M. Marian, 
and frere Tuke, and they had spechys rond 
a-bowt London." 

In Coates's "History of Reading," p. 
214, in the Churchwardens' Accounts of 
St. Lawrence Parish, under 1499, is the 
following article : "It. rec. of the gaderyng 
of Robyn-hod, xixs." In similar Accounts 
for St. Helen's, Abingdon, under 1566, we 
find eipbteen pence char<red for setting \\t> 
Robin Hood's bower. Brathwaite, in his 
"Strappado for the Divell," 1615, says: 

" As for his blond. 

He sa.ys he can deriv't from Robin Hood 

And his May-Marian, and I thinke he 
may, 

For's mother plaid May-Marian t'other 
day." 



520 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



In Dalrymple's Extracts from the "Book 
of the Universal Kirk," 1576, Robin Hood 
is styled King of Ma^. We read, in 
Skene's " Regiam Majestatem," 1609: 
"Gif anie provest, baillie, counsell, or com- 
munitie, chuse Robert Hude, litell John, 
Abbat of Unreason, Queens of Mali, the 
chusers sail tyne their friedome for five 
yeares ; and sail bee punished at the King's 
will : and the accepter of sic ane ofl&ce, 
salbe banished furth of the realme." And 
under " pecuniall crimes," — " all persons, 
quha a landwort, or within burgh, chuses 
Robert Hude, sail j)ay ten pounds, and 
sail be warded induring the Kings 
pleasure." Comp. Maid Marian, May 
Games, &c. 

Robin Redbreast. — The "Guar- 
dian," No. 61, speaking of the common 
notion that it is ominous or unlucky to 
destroy some sorts of birds, as swallows 
and martins, observes that this opinion 
might possibly rise from the confidence 
these birds seem to put in us by building 
under our roofs ; so that it is a kind of 
violation of the laws of hospitality to 
murder them. Of the robin redbreast it 
is commonly said, that if he finds the 
dead body of any rational creature, he 
will cover the face at least, if not the 
whole body, with moss. An allusion pro- 
bablv to the old ballad of the Cruel Uncle 
or the Babes in the Wood. Shakespear 
(Cymheline, iv, 4.) embodies this notion 
in the lines : 

" The ruddock would 

With charitable bill, (O bill fore shaming 

Those rich-left heirs that let their 
fathers lie 

Without a monument !) bring thee all 
this : 

Yea, and furr'd moss besides, when 
flowers are none 

To winter-ground thy corse." 

Again, in the song from Webster's "White 
Divel," 1612 : 

" Call for the robin redbreast and the 

wren. 
Since o'er shady groves they hover. 
And with leaves and flow'rs do cover 
The friendless bodies of unburied men." 

The office of covering the dead is likewise 
ascribed to the ruddock or robin by 
Drayton in "The Owl," 1604: 

" Cov'ring with moss the dead's un- 
closed eye. 
The little red-breast teaches charitie." 

Antony Stafford in his Niohe, 1611, des- 
cribes him as sitting like a coroner on a 
murdered man in his red livery, and 
"playing the sorry tailor to make him a 
mossy raiment." Herrick has a pictu- 
resque passage, where he speaks of the 
robin coming to cover the motionless body 



of Amaryllis ; and in another of those 
delightful small Anacreontic epigrams, 
with which his book abounds, the same 
author invites the bird to become his sex- 
ton, when he is no more. In the " West 
Country Damosel's Complaint," a ballad 
of the time of Charles or James I., the 
lover says, in allusion to his dead mis- 
tress : 

" Come, come you gentle red-breast now, 
And prepare for us a tomb. 
Whilst unto cruel Death I bow, 
And sing like a swan my doom." 

Thomson, in his "Winter," mentions the 
familiarity of this biixi. Pope would have 
us believe that, in his time, the respect 
for robin redbreast was on the decline ; 
but it is scarcely probable that it was so. 
Thomas Park the antiquary noticed that 
in some districts it was considered unlucky 
to keep, as well as to kill, a robin. The 
latter idea only is alluded to in the pro- 
verbs : 

"The robin and the wren 

Are God Almighty's cock and hen," 

and 

" He that hurts robin or wren, 
Will never prosper, boy nor man." 

Now-a-days, the robin is more fami- 
liarly known to children, perhaps, by the 
nursery ballad of "Cock Robin." It is 
said of the young birds, when they are 
just fledged in the spring, that they have 
left off their red waistcoats, not having yet 
got the red breast, by which they are 
distinguished in winter. 

Roc, The. — A huge and almost pre- 
historic bird, mentioned in the Arabian 
Nights, as something or somebody con- 
nected with the genie, who waited on 
Aladdin's wonderful lamp. No perfect 
specimen even of the egg is said to have 
been found, till a fossil one was washed 
ashore on the coast of Madagascar after a 
violent storm in 1893. The following is 
taken from the Globe newspaper : — ^Some 
months ago there was a sudden and violent 
storm along the coast of Madagascar. 
For a couple of days the big waves of the 
Mozambique Channel swept the sandy 
shores of the great African island, and 
then they subsided as suddenly as they 
had arisen, and the morning that followed 
was all that a sub-tropical morning could 
be, with a sea like burnished glass and not 
enough wind on the rippling waters to 
wreck a cockle-shell. Taking advantage 
of the calm, some beachmen put off in 
their fishing skiffs, and whether they had 
good or bad sport as far as the fish were 
concerned, the story does not relat« : but 
one thing they found which never before 
came to any fisherman's basket. They were 
busy with their boats and lines when one 
of them saw something round and white 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



shining in the sun in the distance, just 
as Sinbad saw an identical object from the 
palm tree in the desert island, where his 
comrades had deserted him. They rowed 
up to it, and there floating on the water 
was a great ivory sphere as big as a 
small barrel, the only perfect egg of the 
long extinct roc in the world ! It had 
undoubtedly been washed out of the sand 
banks by the previous storm, and the 
scientific ornithological mind trembles to 
think what might have happened as that 
splendid dripping egg-shell from tlie 
mythical past was hauled into the little 
skiff and set rolling about on the bottom 
with no appreciation of its value among 
the splashing crimson mullet and brown 
sea-cod of a degenerate age. But fate 
was kind to learning on that soft African 
morning. The Hovas were neither too 
hasty, too hungry, nor too curious. They 
did not row ashore and spread the bread 
and butter of expectation while the great 
egg slowly roasted on a sacrilegious sea- 
weed fire ; they did not even crack it with 
a handy thwart to see how far incubation 
had proceeded during a few thousand 
years with the embryo Prince of Djins 
inside, but they carried the awkward 
trophy of unknown origin back to their 
huts with a care for M-hich civilization 
owes them deathless thanks, and there it 
remained until a lucky traveller hit upon 
the trophy and secured it for the wonder of 
a sceptical and over prosaic modern world. 
If we conclude, as undoubtedly we may, 
that the egg came from some old beach 
destroyed by the waves, then it is not 
difficult to imagine how it got there. We 
even get a little help from authentic 
history, for on very old Portuguese maps 
the ocean to the south of Madagascar is 
marked as " Psittacoruni regio " — the re- 
gion of giant birds, and Marco Polo. wJio 
was more accurate, we may perhaps be 
pardoned for saying, than some other 
recent travellers who have followed in his 
footsteps, declares " the island Magaster." 
is the spot where " Rukhs " are found, 
but he adds suggestively that it was not 
their proper home, for they only "made 
their appearance there at a certain season 
from the south." Putting these passages 
side by side, it is just possible for us to 
imagine a distant post-glacial spring, some 
little time before Tamatave was built, no 
doubt, and when Antananarivo was still 
leafy jungle, then as the African April 
dawned on the great island and the green 
rice-grass began to make impenetrable 
breast-high wildernesses of the sandy flats 
along the sea-shore we can perhaps vague- 
ly picture the breeding rocs arriving at 
their nesting ground.s — vast overpowering 
birds " with the bodies of cart-horses and 
the wings of dragons." Madagascar mu:t i 



521 

have been a truly interesting country 
when those stupendous flights were dar- 
kening the southern sky, and to the 
speculative naturalist — provided he could 
have got a safe point of observation, we 
can hardly imagine anything more fascin- 
ating than to have been able to watch the 
love gambols of these huge birds and the 
Titan combats of the males ! 

Temple, in his Modern Peru, shot a 
condor, which measured 40 feet outside the 
spread wings, and it was suggested that 
this might be the roc of antiquity and 
of the Aladdin story. The creature is 
not often mentioned in our early writers ; 
but Sir John Suckling, in his Cantilena 
Politiea-Jocunda, expresses a wish that he 
could obtain one to present to the youn;f 
French king, and speaks of it as delineated 
on the map : 

"0, that I e'er might have the hap 

To get the bird within the map 

'Tis called the Indian Roc ! 

I'd give it him, and look to be 

As great as wise as Luisne," 

Or else I had hard luck." 
—Works, by Hazlitt, 1892, i, 81. 

Roch's or Roche's, St., Day. 
—(August 16.) Whitaker thinks tliat St. 
Roche or Rocke's Day was celebrated as ii 
general harvest home. 

Among the Churchwardens' Accounts of 
St. Michael Spurrier-Gate, York, printeil 
by Nichols, 1797, I find : " 1518. Paid for 
writing of St. Royke Masse, 01. Os. 9d." 
Pegge, by whom the extract was com- 
municated to Nichols, thought that "the 
writing probably means making a new 
copy of the music appropriated to the 
day." In the "Conflict of Conscience," 
1581, by N. Woodes, this saint is men- 
tione<l as the one to whom prayers should 
be offered up against disease, plague and 
pestilence. 

In Overbury's "Character of the Frank- 
lin,'' he says :" He allowes of hone.'-t 
pastime, and thinkes not the bones of tl.e 
dead any thing bruised, or the worse of 
it, though the country lasses dance in 
the church-yard after even-song. Rock 
Monday, and the wake in summer, shrov- 
ings, the wakefull ketches on Christmas 
eve, tlie hoky, or seed cake, these he 
yeerely keepes, yet holds them no reliques 
of popery." Warner, in his " Albions 
England," mentions Rock Monday: 

" Rock and Plow Monday gams sal gang 
with saint feasts and kirk fights:" 
And again : 

" I'le duly keepe for thy delight Roc'i- 
Monday. and the wake, 

Have shrovings. Christmas gambol;, 
with the hokie and seed cake." 

Rogration Days — By the Canons 
of Cuthbert, Archbishop of Canterbury, 



522 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



made at Cloveshoo, in the year 747, it was 
ordered that litanies, that is, rogations, 
should be observed by the clergy and all 
the people, with great reverence, on the 
seventh of the calends of May, according 
to the rites of the Church of Eonie, which 
terms this the greater Litany, and also, 
according to the customs of our fore- 
fathers, on the three days before the 
Ascension of our Lord, with fastings, 
Ac. 

The litanies or rogations then used gave 
the name of Rogation Week to this time. 
They occur as early as the 550th year of 
the Christian era, when they were first ob- 
served by Mamertius Bishop of Vienne, 
on account of the frequent earthquakes 
that happened, and the incursions of wild 
beasts, which laid in ruins and depopu- 
lated the city. Blount tells us that 
Kogation week (otherwise days of 
perambulation.) is always the next 
but one before Whitsuntide ; and so called, 
because on Monday, Tuesday, and Wed- 
nesday of that week, rogations and 
litanies were used ; and fasting, or, at 
least abstinence, then enjoined by the 
Church to all persoois, not only for a 
devout preparative to the feast of Christ's 
glorious Ascension, and the descent of the 
Holy Ghost shortly after, but also to re- 
quest and supplicate the blessing of God 
upon the fruits of the earth. And, in 
this respect, the solemnization of matri- 
mony is forbidden, from the first day of 
the said week till Trinity Sunday. The 
T)utch call it Cruys-week, Cross-week, and 
it is so called in some parts of England, 
because of old, (as still among the Roman 
Catholicks,) when the priests went in pro- 
cession this week, the cross was carried 
before them. In the Inns of Court, he 
adds, it is called Grass-week, because the 
commons of that week consist much of 
salads, hard eggs, and green sauce upon 
some of the days. The feasts of the old 
Romans, called Robigalia and Ambarvalia 
(quod victum arva ambiret) did in their 
way somewhat resemble these institutions, 
a,nd were kept in May in honour of 
Robigus. 

Rogation Week, in the Northern narts 
of England, is still called Gang Week, 
from to oang, which in the North signi- 
fies to go. The word also occurs in the 
rubric to John, c. 17, in the Saxon Gos- 
pels : and the custom is noticed in the 
Laws of Alfred, c. 16, and in those of 
Athelstan, c. 13. Ascension Day, em- 
phatically termed Holy Thursday with us, 
is designated in the same manner by 
King Alfred. Gangdays are classed 
under certain "Idolatries maintained 
by the Church of England," in 
"'The Cobler's Book." In one of the 
■'Merie Tales of Skelton," perhaps the 



work of Doctor Andrew Borde, and first 
composed about 1550, if not earlier, the 
writer rather curiously makes Skelton 
say to a cobbler, " Neybour, you 
be a tall man, and in the kynges 
warres you must here a standard : 
a standard, said the cobler; what a thing 
is that? Skelton saide, it is a great ban- 
ner, such a one as thou doest use to beare 
in Rogacyon Weeke." Johnson the botan- 
ist speaking of the birch tree, says : " It 
serveth well to the decking up of houses 
and banquetting-rooms, for places of plea- 
sure, and for beautifying of streets in the 
Crosse or Gang Week, and such like." 

In Lysons' "Environs," vol. i. p. 309, 
amongst his extracts from the Church- 
wardens' Accounts of Lambeth, I find the 
following relative to our present subject : 

£ s. d. 
"1516. Paid for dyinge of buck- 
ram for the Lett'y cloathes .008 

For paynting the Lett'y 

cloathes 8 

For lynynge of the Lett'y 

cloathes 4 

probably for the processions in which they 
chanted the Litany on Rogation Day." 

It appears from a homily inserted in the 
" Epistles and Gospelles," that the cus- 
tom had, in Henry Vlllth's time, grown 
into considerable abuse. The preacher 
complains: " Alacke, for pitie ! these 
solemne and accustomable processions and 
supplications be nowe growen into a right 
foule and detestable abuse, so that the 
moost parte of men and women do come 
forth rather to set out and shew them- 
selves, and to passe the time with vayne 
and unprofitable tales and mery fables, 
than to make generall supplications and 
prayers to God, for theyr lackes and 
necessities. I wyll not speake of the rage 
and furour of these uplandish processions 
and gangynges about, which be spent in 
ryotyng and in belychere. Furthermore, 
the Banners and Badges of the Crosse be 
so unreverently handled and abused, that 
it is merveyle God destroye us not in one 
daye. In these Rogation Days, if it 
is to be asked of God, and prayed for, 
that God of his goodnes wyll defende and 
save the corne in the felde, and that he 
wyll vouchsave to pourge the ayer. For 
this cause be certaine Gospels red in the 
wide felde amonges the corne and grasse, 
that by the vertue and operation of Gods 
word, the power of the wicked spirites, 
which kepe in the air and infecte the same 
(whence come pestilences and the other 
kyndes of diseases and syknesses), may be 
layde downe, and the aier made pure and 
eleane, to th' intent the corne may re- 
maine unharmed, and not infected of the 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



523 



sayd hurteful spirites, but serve us for 
our use and bodely susteuaunce." 

In 1903, at Ufford in Suffolk, the 
blessing of the crops was observed with 
due religious solemnity. 

By " Advertisements partly for due 
order in the publique Administration of 
Common Prayers, &c. the 25tli day of 
January (7 Eliz.) signat. B 1. it was 
directed, ' that, in the Rogation Dales of 
Procession, they singe or saye in Englishe 
the two Psalms beginnyug ' Benedic Ani- 
ma mea,' &c. withe the Letanye & 
suffrages thereunto, withe one homelye of 
thankesgevyng to God, alreadie devised 
and divided into foure part«s, without ad- 
dition of any superstitious ceremonyes 
heretofore used. " To gadde in pro- 
cession is among the customs censured 
by John Bale, in his " Declaration of 
Bonner's Articles," 1554, signat. D 3. 
It appears from Kethe's Sermon at Bland- 
ford Forum, 1570, p. 20, that in Rogation 
Week the Catholicks had their " Gospelles 
at superstitious crosses, deck'd like idols." 
Plott tells us that at Stanlake, in Oxford- 
shire, the minister of the parisli, in his pro- 
cession in Rogation Week, reads the Gos- 
pel at a barrel's head, in the cellar of the 
Chequer Inn, in that town, where some say 
there was formerly an hermitage, others 
that there was anciently a cross, at which 
they read a gospel in former times ; over 
which the house, and particularly the cel- 
lar, being built, they are forced to con- 
tinue the custom in manner as above. 

In the "Ti-yall of a Mans owne selfe," by 
Thomas Newton, 1586, he inquires, under 
" Sinnes externall and outward," against 
the first commandment, whether the 
parish clergyman " have patiently winked 
at, and quietly suffered, any rites wherein 
hath been apparent superstition — as 
gadding and raunging about with pro- 
cession." In a later authority we have : 
"Doth your minister or curate, in 
Rogation Dayes, go in perambulation 
about your parish, saying and using the 
Psalms and Suffrages by law appointed, 
as viz. Psalm 103 and 104, the Letany and 
Suffrages, together with the Homily, set 
out for that end and purpose? Doth he 
admonish the people to give thanks to 
God, if they see any likely hopes of plenty, 
and to call upon him for his mercy, if 
there be any fear of scarcity : and do you, 
the churchwardens, assist him in itP" — 
Articles of Inqviry within the Arch- 
deaconry of Middlesex, 1662. In similar 
" Articles for the Archdeaconry of Nor- 
thumberland," 1662, the following occurs : 
" Doth your parson or vicar observe the 
three Rogation Dayes?" In others for 
the Diocese of Chichester, 1637, is the 
subsequent: "Doth .your minister yerely 
in Rogation Weeke, for the knowing and 



distinguishing of the bounds of parishes, 
and for obtaining God's blessing upon the 
fruites of the ground, walke the perambu- 
lation, and say, or sing, in English the- 
Gospells, Epistles, Letanie, and other de- 
vout prayers ; together with the 103d and 
104th Psalmes?" 

"It was customary" says Hawkins 
("Hist, of Music," vol. ii. p. 112> 
" at the commencement of the pro- 
cession, to distribute to each a willow 
wand, and at the end thereof a handful of 
points, which were looked on by them as. 
honorary rewards, long after they ceased 
to be useful, and were called tags." 

At Leighton Buzzard, on Rogation, 
Monday, agreeably to the will of Mr. 
Edward AVilkes, a London merchant who 
died in 1646, the trustees of his almshouses 
and other benefactions met in 1896,. 
and, accompanied by the town-crier and 
a band of boys carrying green boughs, 
beat the boundaries. The will of the 
founder was read and beer and plum rolls 
were distributed. In the evening there 
was a dinner. A remarkable feature in 
the perambulation was, and is, that while- 
the will is read, one of the boys has ta- 
stand on his head. Antiquary, xxxii, 
163. Herrick sings : 

" Dearest, bury me 

Under that holy-oke, or gospel tree ; 
Where (though thou see'st not) thoU' 

may'st think upon 
Me, when thou yeerly go'st procession." 

Roncesvalles, Brotherhood 

of. — See Plough Monday. 

Rood of Grace, The. — "The 
Rood," as Puller ("Hist, of Waltham 
Abbey," pp. 17) observes, " when perfectly 
made, and with all the appurtenances 
thereof, had not only the image of our 
Saviour extended upon it, but the figures 
of the Virgin Mary and St. John, one on 
each side : in allusion to John xix. 26. 
' Christ on the Cross saw his mother and 
the disciple whom he loved standing by.' " 

Such was the representation denomin- 
ated the Rood, usually placed over the 
screen which divided the nave from the 
chancel of our churches. To our ancestors, 
we are told, it conveyed a full type of the 
Christian Church. The nave representing 
the church militant, and the chancel the 
church triumphant, denoting that all who 
would go from tlie one to the other, must 
pass under the Rood, that is, carry the 
Cross, and suffer affliction. 

Geffrey Chamber, one of Cromwell's 
visitors at the Reformation, found in the 
monastery at Boxley "the Rood of Grace," 
as it was called, an object, he writes to his 
employer, of great veneration ; and in fact, 
Henry VIII. himself, at the commence- 
ment of his reign, had been repeated- 



524 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



ly a votary there. Chamber thus exposes, 
in a letter he wrote about 1536 to 
Cromwell, the miserable system of im- 
posture : — "I founde," says he, "in the 
image of the Roode callede the Roode of 
Grace, the whiche heretofore hath beene 
hadd in great veneracion of people, certen 
ingynes and olde wyer, wyth olde roton 
stykkes in the backe of the same, that 
dyd cause the eyes of the same to move and 
stere in the hede thereof lyke unto a 
lyvelye thyng ; and also the nether tippe 
in lyke wise to move as thoughe itt shulde 
speke ; whiche, so famed, was not a little 
iitraunge to me and other that was present 
at the pluckyng down of the same." It 
will be recollected that, in 1538, Fisher, 
Bishop of Rochester, exhibited a re- 
ipresentation of this rood from the 
pulpit at Paul's Cross. This latter 
.circumstance is mentioned in a con- 
temporary diary: — " M. Gressham, 
mayir. On Saynt Mathies day thapos- 
tuUe, the xxiiij. day of February, Sonday, 
xiid the Bishop of Rochester preche at 
Polles Oros, and had standyng afore hym 
alle his sermon tyme the pictur of the 
Roode of Grace in Kent, that had byn 
many yeris in the abbey of Boxley in Kent 
;and was gretely sought with pilgryms, and 
when he had made an ende of his sermon, 
the piotor was toorn alle to peces." 
" Diary of a Londoner," temp. Hen. VII. 
and VIII. in " Reliq. Antiq.^' ii. 34. 

Rope. — In Brand's day, the rope 
which remained after a man had been cut 
.down, was an object of eager competition, 
he tells us, being regarded as of virtue in 
attacks of headache. But, in a tract 
printed in 1725, it is stated that at Bristol 
the same thing was thought to be a remedy 
for the ague. Life of Nicholas Mooney, a 
notorious highwayman executed at Bristol, 
April 2i, 1752, p. 30. 

Rope-Dancingr. — See Nichols' 
" Pi-ogresses of Queen Elizabeth," vol. i. 
" Her Majesty," says Rowland White, in 
the Sidney Papers, "this day appoints a 
Frenchman to doe feates upon a rope in 
the Conduit Court." Andrews' Continua- 
tion of Henry's History, 1796, p. 532. 

Rope-Pulling' at Ludlow. — This 
has been a custom time out of mind. A 
newspaper for 1846 furnishes the following 
details of it as then observed: "The 
annual and time-out-of-mind custom of 
rope-pulling was duly observed last week. 
A little before four o'clock, the Mayor, 
accompanied by a numerous party of 
gentlemen, proceeded towards the market- 
hall out of one of the centre windows of 
which was suspended the focus of at- 
traction, viz. the ornamental rope. Many 
thousand people of all degrees were here 
assembled, the majority of them prepared 
for the tug of war; and precisely as the 



chimes told four, the Mayor and assistants 
gradually lowered the grand object of con- 
tention, amidst the deafening cheers of 
the multitude. The struggle then com- 
menced in earnest, which, after the 
greatest exertion, ended in favour of the 
Corve-streot Ward. As is always the case, 
the defeated party went round collecting 
subscriptions to purchase the leviathan 
rope from the successful possessors ; which 
being accomplished, another fierce and 
manly struggle through the town ensued, 
and this time victory declared in favour 
of the Broad-street Ward. The approach- 
ing shades of night only put an end to the 
sports, and we are happy to add that not 
any accident occurred to mar the pleasures 
of the day." 

Rose. — It is observable that it was 
anciently a fashion to stick a rose in the 
ear. At Kirtling, in Cambridgeshire, (at 
one time) the magnificent residence of the 
Norths, there used to be a juvenile por- 
trait, (supposed to be one of Queen 
Elizabeth,) with a red rose sticking in her 
ear. In the queen's case, it might be 
significant of her historical descent. A 
rose is a sj'mbol on some of the coins of 
the reign. In Lingua, 1607, act ii, sc. i, 
Appetitus says: "Crown me no crowns 
but Bacchus' Crown of Roses." 

Evelyn, under June 15, 1670, relates that 
when he and others were dining at Goring 
House, " Lord Stafford, one of the guests, 
rose from table, because there were roses 
stuck about the fruit when the dessert 
was put on the table, such an antipathy, 
it seems, he had to them, as once Lady 
Sellenger also had, and to that degree 
that, as Sir Kenelm Digby tells me, laying 
but a rose upon her cheeks, when she was 
asleep, it raised a blister — " The Diarist 
admonishes us, however, that Sir Kenelm 
"was a teller of strange things." 

Rose Acre. — See Churchyards. 

Rosemary.— Coles, in his " Adam in 
Eden," speaking of rosemary, says : " The 
gaiden rosemary is called rosemarinum 
corouarium, the rather because women 
have been accustomed to make crowns and 
garlands thereof." The same author con- 
firms the observation of rosemary, that it 
" strengthens the senses and memory." 

Parkinson remarks: — "Rosemary is 
almost of as great use as bayes — as well 
for civill as physical purposes : for civil 
uses, as all doe know, at weddings, fune- 
rals, &c. to bestow among friends." 
Paradisus Terrestris, 1629, 598. 

In Hacket's "Marriage Present," 1607, 
he thus expatiates on the use of rosemary, 
at this time. "The last of the flowers is the 
rosemary (rosemarinus, the rosemary is for 
married men) the which by name, nature, 
and continued use, man challengeth as pro- 
perly belonging to himselfe. It overtoppeth 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



525 



all the flowers in the garden, boasting 
man's rule. It helpeth the braine, 
strengtheneth the memoi'ie, and is very 
medicinable for the head. Another pro- 
perty of the rosemary is, it affects the 
hart. Let this Ros Marinus, this flower 
of men, ensigne of yovir wisdome, love and 
loyaltie, be carried not only in your hands, 
but in your heads and harts." Hacket 
adds: " Smell sweet, O ye flowers in your 
native sweetness ; be not gilded with the 
idle arte of man." Both rosemary and 
bays appear to have been gilded on these 
occasions. 

The presentation of a rosemary-branch 
seems to have been held equivalent to a 
wish for the long life and health of the 
recipient. In Tottels Miscellany, 1557, 
are some lines " Of a rosemary braunche 
sente :" 

" Suche grene to me as you haue sent, 
Such grene to you I sende agayn : 
A flow'ring hart that wyll not feint. 
For drede or hope of loss or gaine : — " 

In one of the Diurnals is the following 
passage: "Nov. 28. — That afternoon 
Master Prin and Master Burton came into 
London, being met and accompanied with 
many thousands of horse and foot, and 
rode with rosemary and bayes in their 
hands and hats ; which is generally es- 
teemed the greatest affront that ever was 
given to the Courts of Justice in Eng- 
land." "A perfect Diurnal of that 
memorable Parliament begun at West- 
minister, &c. Nov. 3rd, 1640." 

In "The Passage of our mast drad 
Soueraigne Lady Queue Elyzabeth 
through the citie of London, &c." 1558, 
sign. D 3, is the following passage : " How 
many nosegayes did her grace receyve at 
poore womens hands? How oftentimes 
stayed she her chariot when she saw any 
simple body offer to speake to her Grace? 
A braunch of rosemary given to her Grace, 
with a supplication, by a poor woman 
about Fleet Bridge, was seene in her 
chariot till her Grace came to West- 
minster." 

In an account of a wedding, in 1560, "of 
three sisters together," we read: "fine 
flowers and rosemary were strewed for 
them coming home : and so to the father's 
house, where was a great dinner prepared 
for his said three bride-daughters, with 
their bridegrooms and company." In the 
year 1562, July 20, a wedding at St. 
Olaves, " a daughter of Mr. NicoUs (who 
seems to have been the Bridge Master) 
was married to one Mr. Coke." " At 
the celebration whereof were present, my 
Lord Mayor, and all the Aldermen, with 
many ladies, &c. and Mr. Bacon, an 
eminent divine, preached a wedding ser- 
mon. Then all the company went home 
to the Bridge House to dinner : where 



was a good cheer as ever was known, with 
all manner of musick and dancing all the 
remainder of the day : and at night a 
goodly supper ; and then followed a mas- 
que till midnight. The next day the 
wedding was kept at the Bridge House, 
with great cheer : and after supper came 
in masquers. One was in cloth of gold. 
The next masque consisted of friars, and 
the third of nuns. And after, they danced 
by times : and lastly, the friars and nuns 
danced together." Strype's Stow, 1754, 
i, 259. 

We road in the account of the marriage 
of Jack of Newbury (1597), where speak- 
ing of the bride's being led to church, it 
is added by the writer that " there was a 
fair bride cup, of silver gilt, carried before 
her, wherein was a goodly branch of rose- 
mary, gilded very fair, and hung about 
with silken libbands of all colours." 

Rosemary was used alike at weddings 
and at funerals. The former was com- 
monly dipped in scented water. In 
Dekker's "Wonderful Yeare," 1603, sig- 
nat. E 2 verso, speaking of a bride, who 
died of the plague on her wedding day, 
he says: "Here is a strange alteration, 
for the rosemary that was washt in sweet 
water to set out the bridall, is now wet 
in teares to furni.sh her buriall." 
Herrick's lines equally celebrate the 
double function : 

" The rosemarie branch. 

" Grow for two ends, it matters not at 

all, 
Be't for my bridall or my buriall." 
Hrsprildi's, 1648, p. 131. In Fletcher's 
" Scornful Lady," 1616, it is asked : 
" Were the rosemary branches dipped?" 
Stephens in his Essays and Characters, 
1615, says: "He is the finest fellow in 
the parish, and hee that misinterprets my 
definition, deserves no rosemary nor rose- 
water." He adds: "He must favour of 
gallantry a little : though he perfume 
the table with rose-cake : or appropj'iate 
Bonelace and Coventry -blew : " and is 
passing witty in describing the following 
trait of our bridegroom's clownish civil- 
ity : ' ' He hath heraldry enough to place 
every man by his arnies." In Rowley's 
" Faire Quarrel," 1617, act. v. sc. 1, we 
read : 

"Phis. Your maister is to be married 

to-dav? 
" Trim. Else all this rosemary is lost." 
In Barrey's "Ram Alley," 1611, sign, r 
4, is the following allusion to this old 
custom : 

" Know, varlet, I will be wed this 

morning ; 
Thou shalt not be there, nor cnco be 

grac'd 
With a piece of rosemary." 



526 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Hazlitt's Dodsley, x, 342. In the " Elder 
Brother," 1637, act iii. sc. 3, in a scene 
immediately before a wedding : 

"Lew. Pray take a peece of rosemary. 
Mir. I'll wear it but for the lady's sake, 
and none of yours." 

In the first scene of Fletcher's " Woman's 
Prize," the stage direction is: "Enter 
Morose, Sophocles, and Tranio, with rose- 
mary as from a wedding." So in the 
"Pilgrim," by Fletcher, 1621; 

" Alph. Well, well, since wedding will 

come after wooing. 
Give me some rosemary, and letts be 

going." 

We gather from Jonson's "Tale of a 
Tub," that it was customary for the bride 
maids, on the bridegroom's first appear- 
ance in the morning, to present him with 
a bunch of rosemary, bound with ribbons. 
' ' Look, an' the wenches ha' not found un 
out, and do present un with a van of 
rosemary and bays enough to vill a bow- 
pott, or trim the head of my best vore 
horse : we shall all ha' bride-laces, or 
points, I zee." Similarly to this, in the 
" Marrow of Complements," 1655, a rustic 
lover t«lls his mistress that, at their wed- 
ding " Wee'l have rosemary and bayes to 
vill a bow-pot, and with the zame He trim 
that vorehead of my best-vore horse." 
In the ' ' Knight of the Burning 
Pestle," 1613, act v. sc. 1, we 
read : "I will have no great store of com- 
pany at the wedding, a couple of neigh- 
bours, and their wives, and we will have 
a capon in stewed broth, with marrow, 
and a good piece of beef stuck with rose- 
mary." So late as 1698, the old country 
use appears to have been kept up, of deck- 
ing the bridal bed with sprigs of rose- 
mary : it is not however mentioned as 
being general. Lex Forcia, 1698, p. 17. 

It appears that at the funeral of 
Robert Lockier, (who was shot for mutiny 
April 27th or 28th, 1649, the manner of 
which was most remarkable, consider- 
ing the person to be in no higher 
quality than a private trooper, for the 
late king had not half so many to attend 
his i-emains) the corpse was adorned with 
bundles of rosemary on each side, one half 
of each was stained in blood, and the 
sword of the deceased with them." Per- 
fect Diurnal, April 30-May 7, 1649. 

" I saw a beggar put into an open coffin, 
with an abundance of bay leaves, rose- 
mary, sweet briar, and floures, who was a 
drunken rogue, and his wife worse, yet 
she cried at the putting of him in." — 
Tjetter of a Private Christian to the Lady 
Consideration, 1655, p. 5. 

Many instances of the use of rosemary 



at funerals are to be collected from old 
writers. In the second part of Dekker's 
" Honest Whore," 1630, signat. c 2 verso, 
is the following passage: "My winding- 
sheete was taken out of lavender to be 
stucke with rosemary." In Shirley's 
" Wedding," 1633, signat. a 4 verso, scene 
" A table set forth with two tapers : ser- 
vants placing ewe, bayes, and rosemary," 
&c. A writer in the "British Apollo," 
1708, is of opinion that the use of rose- 
mary at funerals proceeded in the first 
instance from its supposed properties as 
a disinfectant. Misson says, when the 
funeral procession is ready to set out, 
"they nail up the coffin, and a servant 
presents the company with sprigs of rose- 
mary : every one takes a sprig and carries 
it in his hand till the body is put into the 
grave, at which time they all throw in 
their sprigs after it." Travels, p. 91. In 
Hogarth's "Harlot's Progress," at the 
prostitute's funeral, there are sprigs of 
rosemary, and Gay, in his "Pastorals," 
has this passage : 

" To shew their love, the neighbours 
far and near 

Follow'd with wistful look the damsel's 
bier : 

Sprigg'd rosemary the lads and lasses 
bore. 

While dismally the parson walk'd be- 
fore." 

Rose of Jericho.— Sir Thomas 
Browne tells us : " The Rose of Jericho, 
that flourishes every year just about 
Christmas Eve, is famous in Christian 
reports. Bellonius tells us it is only a 
monastical imposture. There is a pecu- 
liarity in this plant ; though it be dry, 
yet, on imbibing moisture, it dilates its 
leaves and explicates its flowers, con- 
tracted and seemingly dried up : which 
is to be effected not only in the plant yet 
growing, but also in some measure may be 
effected in that which is brought exsuccous 
and dry unto us : which quality being 
observed, the subtlety of contrivers did 
commonly play this shew upon the eve of 
our Saviour's Nativity : when by drying 
the plant again, it closed the next day, 
referring unto the opening and closing of 
the womb of Mary. Walsingham has the 
following passage: "In multis locis 
Anglise Salices in Januario flores protu- 
lerunt, Rosis in quantitate et colore per- 
similes." Historia Brevis, 1574, p. 119. 

Cotgrave in his Dictionary, 1650, has: 
" Rose of the mount of Jericho, of Jerusa- 
lem, or our Ladies rose. Rose de nostre 
Dame, rose de Jerico, rose de pienne." 
Herrick, in his "Good Wishes for the 
Duke of York," printed in his Hcsperides, 
1648, expresses this complimentary wish : 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



527 

being sacred to Venus, whose amorous and 
stolen sports, that they might never be 
revealed, her Sonne Cupid would needes 
dedicate to Harpocrates the God of 
Silence." Trvth of our Times, 1638, p. 
173. A correspondent of Notes and 
Queries " observes that, at Lullingstone 
Castle, in Kent, there is a representation 
of a rose nearly two feet in diameter, with 
the following inscription round it : 

"Kentish true blue. 
Take this as a token. 
That what is said here. 
Under the rose is spoken." 

The Germans have hence a custom of des- 
cribing a rose in the ceiling over the table. 
The rose is a very usual central ornament 
for modern reception rooms. How to in- 
terpret an allusion by Randolph in regard 
to a Maid of Honour seen by him in 
Somerset House Garden under peculiar 
conditions, I hardly know. He says : — ■ 

' ' and as she goes. 
She views the situation of each rose — " 
Works, by Hazlitt, 1875, ii, 662. 

RostruiTli — The familiar term now 
applied to the auctioneer's elevated seat 
at the head of the table, when a public 
sale is conducted. The name doubtless 
arose from the original projection of the 
desk in the form of a prow or beak of a 
vessel, and may be taken to be of com- 
paratively modern origin, since auctions 
were long held in a different manner. 
The plural Bostra, however, was used to 
signify the stage in the Roman Forum 
from which speakers addressed their 
audiences, and which owed that desig- 
nation to its embellishment with the beaks 
of ships taken in a war. Smith's Diet, of 
Greek and Boman Antiq., 1856, v. Bostra. 
Comp. Auctions. 

Rous:h Music.— See Halliwell in v. 
and comp. Skimmington. 

Rounders.— This sport, which has 
fallen into comparative disuse of late 
years, was formerly a very popular school- 
boy's amusement. It was played with a 
ball and a short, stout stick, a species of 
apology for a bat, and was of the same 
genus as cricket, but less aspiring and 
not so hazardous ; it was chiefly confined 
to the younger lads, who still lacked the 
necessary skill and strength for the more 
ambitious game. 

It is possible that this is the game which, 
under the name of rownes (rounds) is 
mentioned in the " English Courtier and 
the Country Gentleman," 1586. 

Routing' Well. — Comp. Drumming 
Well. One in the parish of Inveresk, 
Mid-Lothian, was said in the 18th century 



" May his pretty dukeship grow 
Like t' a rose of Jericho : 
Sweeter far then ever yet 
Showers or sun-shines co'ld beget." 

Rose, Under the. — The vulgar 
saying " Under the rose," is stated to 
have taken its rise from convivial enter- 
tainments, where it was an ancient custom 
to wear chaplets of roses about the head, 
on which occasions, when persons desired 
to confine their words to the company 
present, that they " might go no farther," 
they commonly said " they are spoken 
under the rose." Nazianzen, according 
to Sir Thomas Browne, seems to imply, in 
the following verses, that the rose, from a 
natural property, has been made the sym- 
bol of silence : 

' ' Utque latet Rosa verna suo putamine 

clausa. 
Sic Os vincla ferat, validisque arctetur 

habenis, 
Indicatque suis prolixa silentia labris." 

Leninius and others have traced this say- 
ing to another origin. The rose, say they, 
was the flower of Venus, which Cupid con- 
secrated to Harpocrates, the God of 
Silence ; and it was therefore the emblem 
of it, to conceal the mysteries of Venus. 
Newton says : " I will heere adde a com- 
mon countrey custome that is used to be 
done with the rose. When pleasaunt and 
merry companions doe friendly meete to- 
gether to make goode cheere, as soone as 
their feast or banket is ended, they give 
faithfull promise mutually one to another, 
that whatsoever hath been merrily spoken 
by any in that assembly, should be 
wrapped up in silence, and not to be 
carried out of the doores. For the as- 
surance and performance whereof, the 
tearme whoh they use, that all things 
there saide must be taken as spoken under 
the rose. Whereupon they use in their 
parlours and dining roomes to hang roses 
over their tables, to put the companie in 
memorie of secrecie, and not rashly or 
indiscreetly to clatter and blab out what 
they heare. Likewise, if they chaunce to 
shew any tricks of wanton, unshamefast, 
immodest or irreverent behaviour either 
by word or deed, they protesting that all 
was spoken under the rose, do give a strait 
charge and pass a Covenant of Silence and 
Secrecy with the hearers, that the same 
shall not be blowne abroad, nor tatled in 
the streetes among any others." Herbal 
for the Bible, 1587, 123-3. 

So Peacham : "In many places as well 
in England as in the Low Countries, they 
have over their tables a rose painted, and 
what is spoken under the rose must not be 
revealed. The reason is this ; the rose 



528 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



to predict a storm, when its rumbling 
noise was heard. 

Rovtfan-Tree. — In the song of "The 
Laidley Worm," we read : 

' ' The spells were vain ; the hag returnes 
To the Queen in sorrowful mood. 
Crying that witches have no power 
Where there is a rowan-tree wood !" 
Northumberland Garland, p. 63. 

RuCi — Rue was hung about the neck, 
as an amulet against witchcraft, in 
turn esse tradit Aristoteles." — Wierus de 
Aristotle's time. " Rutam fascini Amule- 
Prsestigiis Dsemonum, lib. v. cap. xxi. col. 
584. Shakespear has this passage: 
" There's rue for you, and here's some for 
me. We may call it herb-grace o' Sun- 
days." Rue was called herb of grace by 
the country people, and probably for the 
reason assigned by Warburton, that it was 
used on Sundays by the Romanists in their 
exorcisms. Hamlet, iv, 5. White Kennet, 
in a letter of June 19, 1716, mentions that 
the Jacobites on the 7th had bought rue 
and thyme. 

Ruff or Colchester Trump. — 
There appears by a passage in Heath's 
" House of Correction," 1619, to have been 
an ancient game called ruffe: "A swag- 
gerer is one that plays at ruffe, from 
whence he tooke the denomination of a 
ruffyn," &c. English Courtier, &c. 1586, 
H 3 verso. Heywood, in " A Woman 
Kilde with Kindnesse," 1607, mentions 
double ruff. 

Rule. — The governing body at Clif- 
ford's Inn, while it remained an indepen- 
dent autonomous institution. 

Rumbald. — Hasted, referring to 
Polkstone, says, " there was a singular 
custom used of long time by the fishermen 
of this place. They chose eight of the 
largest and best whitings out of every 
boat, when they came home from that 
fishery, and sold them apart from the rest, 
and out of the money arising from them 
they made a feast every Christmas Eve, 
which they called a rumbald. The rnaster 
of each boat provided this feast for his own 
company. These whitings, which are of 
a very large size, and are sold all round 
the country, as far as Canterbury, are 
called rumbald whitings. This custom 
(which is now left off, though many of the 
inhabitants still meet socially on a Christ- 
mas Eve, and call it Rumbald Night), 
might have been antiently instituted in 
honour of St. Rumbald, and at first de- 
signed as an offering to him for his 
protection during the fishery." Hist, of 
Kent, folio ed. iii, 380. 

Run a Tye, To — "To May Day 
sports may be referred the singular bequest 
of Sir Dudley Diggs, knt., (says Hasted) 



who by his last will, dated in 1638, left the 
sum of 201. to be jjaid yearly to two young 
men and two maids, who, on May 19th, 
yearly, should run a tye, at Old Wives Lees 
in Chilham, and prevail ; the money to be 
paid out of the profits of the land of this 
part of the manor of Selgrave, which es- 
cheated to him after the death of Lady 
Clive. These lands, being in three pieces, 
lie in the parishes of Preston and Faver- 
sham, and contain about forty acres, and 
are commonly called the Running Lands. 
Two young men and two young maids run 
at Old Wives Lees in Chilham, yearly, on 
May 1st, and the same number at Sheld- 
wich Lees, on the Monday following, by 
way of trial, and the two which prevail 
at each of those places run for the 101. 
at Old Wives Lees, as above mentioned; on 
May 19." A great concourse of the neigh- 
bouring gentry and inhabitants constantly 
assemble there on this occasion. Hist, of 
Kent, folio ed. ii, 787. 

Running: for the Smock.— This 
was an annual performance at Gooseberry 
Fair, held at the beginning of August in 
Spa Fields. Two young girls, stripped 
to their smocks, ran 100 yards on the turf, 
and a Holland chemise decorated with 
ribbons was the reward of the winner of 
the race. But the same sport was generally 
prevalent in the North of England in for- 
mer times. 

At this fair there were stalls furnished 
with gooseberry fool and booths, where 
tea was served for threepence. 

Run the Figure of Eisht, To. 
— ^This sport is still followed by boys, and 
is alluded to by Shakespear in his " Mid- 
summer Night's Dream " in the line : 

"And the quaint mazes in the wanton 
green." 

The Figure of Eight is also a favourite 
feature in Skating. 

Run the Hoop, To. — An ancient 
marine custom. Four or more boys, hav- 
ing their left hands tied fast to an iron 
hoop, and each of them a rope, called a 
nettle, in their right, being naked to the 
waist, wait the signal to begin ; this being 
made by a stroke with a cat of nine tails, 
given by the boatswain to one of the boys, 
he strikes the boy before him, and every 
one does the same. At first the blows are 
but gently administered ; but each, ir- 
ritated by the strokes from the boy behind 
him, at length lays it on in earnest. This 
was anciently practised when the ship was 
wind-bound. 

Rush-BearinsT.— It appears that in 
ancient times the parishioners brought 
rushes at the Feast of Dedication, where- 
with to strew the church, and from that 
circumstance the festivity itself has ob- 
tained the name of Rush-bearing, which 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



529 



occurs for a country wake in a Glossary 
to the Lancashire dialect. Braithwaite, 
describing a zealous brother, tells us : "He 
denounceth an heauie woe upon all wakes, 
summerings, and rush-bearings, preferring 
that Act whereby pipers were made rogues, 
by Act of Parliament, before any in all the 
Acts and Monuments." — Whimzies, 1631, 
p. 197. In the same work, p. 19 (Second 
Part), speaking of a peddlar the author 
says: "A countrey rush-bearing, or 
Morrice-Pastorall, is his festivall : if ever 
hee aspire to plum-porridge, that is the 
day. Here the guga-girles gingle it with 
his neat nifles." So, also, in Braith- 
waite's " Boulster Lecture," 1640, p. 78, 
we find: "Such an one as not a Rush- 
bearer or May-morrish in all that parish 
could subsist without him." 

In 1875, in the Lake country, rushbear- 
iug was still continued on successive 
Sundays in the season at Grasmere, 
Ambleside, and Warcop. The subjoined 
written notice was attached to one of the 
entrances to Grasmere churchyard : — "The 
rush-bearing notices for 1875. — Mr. 
Dawson will give his gratuities of 6c?. only 
to such bearers who are attending the 
parochial day, infant, and Sunday schools 
during the present school quarter. Rush- 
bearing standards for dressing by ladies 
will be received at the school by Mr. Fuller, 
only between the hours of four and six 
on Thursday next, after which no stan- 
dard will be taken. The number of 
standards so received for dressing at the 
school will be limited to fifty, that is, 
to the fifty first brought to the school ; 
all beyond this number will be refused, as 
the ladies cannot undertake a larger num- 
ber." " All rush-bearings must be on the 
churchyard wall not later than six o'clock 
on Saturday the 17th inst. — July 10, 
1875." The following hymn was long in 
use at Grasmere on this occasion ; — 

" Hymn for the Rush-Beaeehs. 
Our fathers to the house of God, 
As yet a building rude, 
Bore offerings from the flowery sod. 
And fragrant rushes strew'd. 
May we, their children, ne'er forget 
The pious lesson given, 
But honour still, together met, 
The Lord of earth and heaven. 
Sing we the good Creator's praise, 
Who gives us sun and showers 
To cheer our hearts with fruitful days. 
And deck our world with flowers. 
These, of the great Redeemer's grace. 
Bright emblems here are seen ; 
He makes to smell the desert place 
With flowers and rushes green. 
All glory to the Father be, 
All glory to the Son, 
All glory. Holy Ghost, to Thee, 
While endless ages run. Amen." 



The communication to Notes and 
Queries (Aug. 28, 1875), from which the 
above extracts are derived adds : — Satur- 
day evening was very warm and bright, 
and from half-past five to six o'clock 
groups of nicely dressed little children 
were wending their way towards the parish 
church, which is situated at a curve of the 
road in the little scattered town of Gras- 
mere ; some of the children came as 
spectators, but most of them carried very 
beautiful ornaments made of rushes and 
flowers, the rushes to give the form, and 
the flowers the decoration. The rush- 
bearings were from two to five feet in 
height ; many of them were crosses of 
various designs, usually the cross with a 
circle, as the circle gives strength to the 
rush arms. Those which were not crosses 
were of a variety of forms, some of them 
like the iron finials which are seen on the 
roofs of buildings. They were all mounted 
on small squares of wood, like those on 
which stuffed birds are set. The wall of 
the churchyard has a broad coping, and 
is about four feet high next the road, and 
two to three feet high at the inside. The 
Grasmere rush-bearing was a very inter- 
esting and pretty ceremony, and one that 
might, with advantage in many ways, be 
introduced into those villages where it is 
unknown, if for no other reason than that 
it pleases the children, gives them some- 
thing pleasant to look forward to, and 
something pleasant to do. 

In the West Country the girls make 
these crosses and cast them on the smooth 
surface of a pool or well. If they float, 
it is an augury of happy love ; if they sink, 
it portends early death. 

Rushes. — In Newton's " Herball for 
the Bible," 1587, is the following passage : 
" Sedge and rushes with the which many 
in the country do use in summer time to 
strawe their parlors and churches, as well 
for coUeness as for pleasant smell." 
Chambers, and indeed all apartments 
usually inhabited, were formerly strewed 
in this manner. As our ancestors rarely 
washed their floors, disguises of unclean- 
liness became necessary things. It ap- 
pears that the English stage was strewed 
with rushes. The practice in private 
houses is noticed by Dr. Johnson from 
Caius " de Ephemera Britannica." 

In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. 
Mary-at-Iiill, London, 1493, we have 
" for 3 berden rushes for the new pews, 
3d." In the same, 1504, occurs " Paid 
for 2 berden ryshes for the strewyng the 
newe pewes, Sd." In Accounts for the 
parish of St. Margaret's, Westminster, 
under 1544, is the following item: " Paid 
for rushes against the Dedication Day, 
which is always the first Sunday of Octo- 
ber, Is. 5d." In those of St. Laurence 



530 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



Parish, Reading, for 1C02, quoted by 
Coates, we have: "Paid for flowers and 
rushes for the churche when the Queene 
was in town, xxd." 

Hentzner. in his " Itinerary," speaking 
of Queen Elizabeth's presence-chamber at 
Greenwich, says, "The floor, after the 
English fashion, was strewed with hay." 
Copley, in his " Wits, Fits, and Fancies," 
1595, has a story to this purpose. 
Bridges, in his " Northamptonshire, vol. 
i. p. 187, speaking of the parish of Middle- 
ton Chenduit, says : " It is a custom here 
to strew the church in summer with hay 
gathered from six or seven swaths in Ash- 
meadow, which have been given for this 
purpose. The rector finds straw in win- 
ter." Hazlitt's Blount, 1874, p. 219. 
For farther particulars on this subject the 
reader may be referred to Mr. Alfred 
Barton's monograph, 4°, 1891. 

Sack. — A dry Spanish wine, apparent- 
ly from the German sac, Ft. sec. See 
Nares, 1859, in v. Sack was a very com- 
mon drink in and after Shakespear's time 
at Stratford and elsewhere. It is men- 
tioned by Gasooigne in his Delicate Diet, 
1576, among the other wines then in vogue. 
According to a ballad of the time of James 
I. it seems to have been sold for eighteen 
pence the quart. 

Sack-Posset. — See Posset. 

Sacrifice. — The theory of it among 
primitive communities was the propitia- 
tion of the supposed author or authors of 
increase from season to season by the 
surrender of a share or of a choice portion 
of the produce of the earth and of live 
stock to a god. It appears to survive 
only in the tithes still exacted by the 
Church to enable it to maintain its ofiices 
of ministry and intercession. It evolved 
from this principle and idea that God 
Himself offered up His most precious pos- 
session to purify and redeem mankind 
instead of exercising His presumptive 
power of dispensing with any such media- 
tory process. 

Saddler's Well In a tract of 

1684 it is thus described : " The New Well 
at Islington is a certain spring in the 
middle of a garden, belonging to the 
Musick House, built by Mr. Sadler, on 
the North side of the great cistern that 
receives the New River water near Isling- 
ton, the water whereof was before the 
Reformation, very much famed for several 
extraordinary cures performed thereby, 
and was therefore accounted sacred, and 
called Holy-Well. The priests belonging 
to the Priory of Clerkenwell using to 
attend there, made the people believe 
that the virtues of the waters proceeded 
from the efficacy of their prayers. But 
upon the Reformation the well was stopt 
up. . . ." The narrative, which is cur- 



ious enough, goes on to tell us how an 
acquaintance of Sadler discovered the well 
again, the properties of the water, which 
was somewhat like Tonbridge, and how it 
was to be used. 

Saddling: the Spit. — It appears 
that, in the parish of St. Clement Danes 
" There was formerly a good custom of 
Saddling the Spit, which, for reasons well 
known at Westminster, is now laid aside : 
so that wives, whose husbands are sea- 
faring persons, or who are otherwise ab- 
sent from them, have lodged here ever 
since very quietly." 

Sagittary. — A fabulous creature 
introduced into mediseval romance by 
Guido di Colonna. A centaur. Comp. 
Nares, 1859, in v. 

Sailors' and Marine Super- 
stitions. — "Innumerable," says 
Reginald Scot, " are the reports of ac- 
cidents unto such as frequent the seas, as 
fishermen and sailors, who discourse of 
noises, flashes, shadows, ecchoes, and other 
visible appearances, nightly seen and 
heard upon the surface of the water." 
Discovery, ed. 1665, p. 53. Bishop Hall 
ridicules the superstition of sailors among 
the Romanists, who, in passing by St. 
Michael's Grecian promontory Malla, used 
to ply him with their best devotions, that 
he would hold still his wings from resting 
too hard upon their sails. 

Sailors have various puerile apprehen- 
sions of it being ominous to whistle on 
shipboard, to drown a cat, to carry a 
corpse in their vessel, &c. It seems that 
the objection to whistling proceeds, or at 
least proceeded formerly, from a notion 
which prevailed that by so doing they 
mocked the devil, the stirrer up of winds 
and storms. In " A Helpe to Discourse," 
the latter idea is properly confuted : "The 
shippe is as insensible of the living as of 
the dead, and as the living made it goe 
the faster, so the dead made it not goe the 
slower, for the dead are no Rhemoras to 
alter the course of her passage, though 
some there be that thinke so, and that, 
by a kind of mournful sympathy." Comp. 
Remora. 

The common sailors account it very un- 
lucky to lose a water-bucket or a mop. 
Children are deemed lucky to a ship. The 
authoi' of A New Catalogue of Vulgar 
Errors, 1767, remarks : "t look upon our 
sailors to care as little what becomes of 
themselves as any set of people under 
the sun, and yet no people are so much 
terrified at the thoughts of an apparition. 
Their sea songs are full of them ; they 
firmly believe their existence ; and honest 
Jack Tar shall be more frightened at a 
glimmering of the moon upon the tack- 
ling of the ship, than he would be if a 
Frenchman was to clap a blunderbuss to 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



531 



his head. I was told a story by an oflficer 
in the Navy, which may not be foreign 
to the purpose. About half a dozen of the 
sailors on board a man of war, took it 
into their heads that there was a ghost 
in the ship ; and being asked by the cap- 
tain what reason they had to apprehend 
any such thing, they told him they were 
sure of it, for they smelt him. The 
•captain first laughed at them and called 
them a parcel of lubbers, and advised them 
not to entertain any such silly notions as 
■these, but mind their work. It passed on 
very well for a day or two ; but one night, 
being in another ghost-smelling humour, 
they all came to the captain and told him 
that they were quite certain there was 
•a ghost, and he was somewhere behind 
the small beer-barrels. The captain, 
<iuite enraged at their folly, was deter- 
mined they should have something to be 
frightened at in earnest : and so ordered 
the boatswain's mate to give them all a 
dozen of lashes with a cat o' nine tails, 
"by which means the ship was entirely 
cleared of ghosts during the remainder 
of the voyage. However, when the bar- 
rels were removed, some time after, they 
found a dead rat, or some such thing, 
which was concluded by the rest of the 
•crew to be the ghost which had smelt a 
little before." Our author accounts for 
this philosophically: "A great deal may 
"be said in favour of men troubled with the 
scurvy, the concomitants of which dis- 
order are, generally, faintings and the 
Tiip, and horrors without any grounds for 
them." 

The prejudice that the presence of a 
■dead body upon shipboard is fatal to the 
vessel, we find noticed in Twyne's Pattern 
■of Painful Adventures, first printed about 
1576 : ' ' Howbeit in the hotest of the 
■Borowe the gouernour of the ship came 
"vnto Apollonius, saying ; My lord, pluck 
Tp your heart, and be of good cheere, and 
■consider I pray you that the ship may 
not abide to carrie the dead carkas, and 
therefore command it to be cast into the 
sea. . ." But the belief has always been 
strong, and may still survive. We find it 
in the ballad of "Bonnie Annie," and 
Coleridge, in our own time, has intro- 
duced it into his "Rime of the Ancient 
Mariner," — a poem in which the author's 
■German sympathies are powerfully pre- 
sent. Mr. Kinloch informs us, that "when 
■a ship became unmanageable, lots were 
•cast to discover the person who occasioned 
the disaster, and the man on whom the 
lot fell was condemned." Pennant says, 
that "the appearance of the dolphin and 
the porpesse are far from being esteemed 
favourable omens by the seamen, for their 
boundings, springs, and frolicks in the 
iwater, are held to be sure signs of an 



approaching gale." Zoology, iii, 67. See 
Oastor and Pollux and Lucky and Unlucky 
Days, &o. 

Petronius Arbiter notices a very singu- 
lar marine superstition ; it is that no 
person in a ship must pare his nails or 
cut his hair, except in a storm. " Audio 
enim non licere cuiquam raortalium in 
nave neque ungues neque capillos depo- 
nere, nisi quum pelago ventus irascitur." 
Petron. 369, edit. Mich. Hadrianid. 
Juvenal, Sat. xii. 1. 81, says: — 

" Tuti stagna sinus. Gaudent ibi 

vertice raso 
Garrula securi narrare pericula nautse." 

Saint Cross. — Near Winchester. 
This hospitium for men and women, 
apart from its other benefactions, is bound 
on demand by ringing at the gates to 
supply to every traveller a piece of bread 
and a cup or glass of ale. The quality 
is not stipulated. 

Saint-Graal. — See Graal. 

Saints' Days. — A writer in " Cur- 
rent Notes" for December, 1857, judi- 
ciously observes respecting those saints, 
who are merely commemorated : " It is a 
fact hitherto almo-st unnoticed, that these 
Saints' Days now considered as distincti-ye 
badges of Romanism continued to retain 
their appropriated stations in our popular 
Protestant English Almanac, until the 
alteration of the style in 1752, when they 
were discontinued." 

Salamander. — It is rather difficult 
to account for the absurd and barbarous 
superstition about this beautiful and 
harmless creature, as is not even an in- 
habitant of the tropics, and does not 
evince any fondness for warmth. 

" There is a vulgar error, '| says 
Vaughan, " that a salamander lives in 
the fire. Yet both Galen and Dioscorides 
refute this opinion : and Mathiolus in his 
Commentaries upon Dioscorides, a very 
famous physician, affirms of them, that by 
casting of many a salamander into the 
fire for tryal, he found it false. The same 
Experiment is likewise avouched by 
Joubertus." Brief Natural History, p. 
91. " Should a glass-house fire be kept 
iiD without extinction, for a longer term 
than seven years, there was a theory 
that a salamander would be generated in 
the cinders. This very rational idea is 
much more generally credited than wise 
men would readily believe." ^ — Andrews' 
Anecdotes, edit. 1790, p. 359. What 
wise men would be apt to believe it ! 

Sailfng:er's or St. Legrer's 
Round. — An old dance and tune. See 
Nares, 1859, in v. 

Salt. — Selden observes of salt, that it 
" was vsed in all sacrifices by expresse- 



532 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



commandement of the true God, the Salt 
of the Couenant in holy writ, the religion 
of the salt, set first, and last taken away, 
as a symbole of perpetual-friendship, that 
in Homer Hacrcri 8' AXos ©eioto, (he 
sprinkled it with divine salt) the title of 
ayviTrjs (the cleanser,) giuen it by 
Lycophron, and passages of the oceans 
medicinable epithets because of his salt- 
nesse, you shall see apparant and apt 
testimonie " of its having had a most 
respected and divinely honoured name. 
Notes on the Pohjolhion. 

" Salt," says Seward, " was equally used 
in the sacrifices both by Jews and pagans. 
But the use of salt in baptism was taken 
from the Gentile idolatry, and not from 
the Jewish sacrifices. Salt, as an emblem 
of preservation, was ordered by the Law 
of Moses to be strewed on all flesh that was 
offered in sacrifice. But among the 
pagans it was not only made use of as 
an adjunct, or necessary concomitant of 
the sacrifice, but was offered itself as a 
propitiation. Thus in the Ferialia or 
offerings to the Dii Manes, when no ani- 
mal was slain : 

' Parva petunt Manes, Pietas pro divite 

grata est 
Munere; non avidos Styx habet una 

Beos. 
Tegula porrectis satis est velata Coronis, 
Et parcse fruges, parvaque Mica Salis.' 

' The Manes' rights expences small 

supply. 
The richest sacrifice is piety. 
With vernal garlands a small tile exalt 
A little flour and little grain of salt.' 

" That the flour and salt were both de- 
signed as propitiary offerings to redeem 
them from the vengeance of the Stygian 
or Infernal Gods, may be proved from 
a like custom in the Lemuria, an- 
other Festival to the same Beities 
... " It is plain, therefore, that the 
salt in the former ceremony was offered 
as a redemption, which property the 
Papists impiously ascribe to it still ; and 
the parva mica, a little grain, is the very 
thing put into the child's mouth at pre- 
sent." Further on, he writes: "Then 
he, the priest, exorcises and expells the 
impure spirits from the salt, which stands 
by him in a little silver box ; and putting 
a bit of it into the mouth of the person 
to be baptized, he says : ' Receive the 
salt of wisdom, and may it be a propitia- 
tion to thee for eternal life.' " Con- 
formity between Popery and Paganism, 
p. 53. 

Pennant, in his " Tours in Wales," tells 
us that " A tune called Gosteg yr Halen, 
X>r the prelude of the salt, was always 



played whenever the salt seller was placed 
before King Arthur's knights at his. 
Round Table." In Lord Fairfax's "Or- 
ders for the Servants of his Household at 
Benton," after the Civil Wars, I find, 
" For the chamber let the best fashioned 
and apparell'd servants attend above the- 
salt, the rest below." Antiq, Repertory, 
1808, iv, 310. 

In Scotland, it was a common practice' 
in the end of the 18th century to " put a 
small quantity of salt into the first milk, 
of a cow, after calving, that is given any 
person to drink." "This was done,'' it 
is added, " with a view to prevent skaith, 
if it should happen that any person is- 
not canny." Stat. Ace. xvi, 121, Kil- 
learn, Co. Stirling, Anno 1795. 

In a little volume (a translation from 
the French) published in the time of 
Charles II., we meet with what is still ai 
not uncommon sentiment, the reluctance 
to be helped to salt. The writer, who of 
course merely expresses the French view 
of the subject, although it is common to- 
other countries, observes: "Some are so- 
exact, they think it uncivil to help any 
body that sits by them, either with salt 
or with brains ; but in my judgement that 
is but a ridiculous scruple, and if your- 
neighbour desires you to furnish him, you 
must either take some out with your knife, 
and lay it upon his plate ; or, if they be- 
more than one, present them with the- 
salt, that they may furnish themselves." 
Bules of Civility, 1685, p. 34. On the- 
other hand, Stuckius tells us that the- 
Muscovites thought that a prince could 
not shew a greater mark of affection than' 
by sending to him salt from his own table. 
Convivial Antiquities, p. 17. Comp., 
Nantwich. 

Mungo Park, in his "Travels," tells- 
us : "It would appear strange to an 
European to see a child suck a piece of" 
rock-salt as if it were sugar : this is fre- 
quent in Africa : but the poorer sort of 
inhabitants are so rarely indulged with 
this precious article, that to say, ' A man 
eats salt with his victuals,' is to say he- 
is a rich man." It is this kind, which 
they leave about in English deer-parks for 
the animals to lick. 

Salt-Eel. — A game similar to Side 
and seek.. See Halliwell in v. 

Salti Falling' of. — It has been ob- 
served by Bailey, on the falling of 
salt, that it proceeds from the an- 
cient opinion that salt was incorrup-- 
tible : it had therefore been made the- 
symbol of friendship : and if it fell, 
usually the persons between whom it 
happened, thought their friendship would' 
not be of long duration. Hall, in his- 
" Characters," 1608, makes it a character— 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



533 



istic of his Superstitious man, to look 
pale and red if the salt fall towards him," 
and not to be at his ease " till one of the 
waiters have poured wine on his hands." 
The last-mentioned idea is perhaps trace- 
able from, the opinion which we find 
diffused widely among the Lydians and 
other nations of antiquity, who held that 
the pouring of wine upon the ground or 
upon their clothes, accompanied by 
prayer, was more efficacious as an augury 
than the flight of birds. 

Gaule tells us : "I have read it 
in an orthodox Divine, that he knew 
a young gentleman who, by chance, 
spilling the salt on the table, some 
that sate with him said merrily to him, 
that it was an ill omen, and wish'd him 
take heed to himselfe that day : of which 
the young man was so superstitiously 
credulous, that it would not go out of his 
mind ; and going abroad that day, got a 
wound of which he died not long after." 
Blag-Astromancers Posed, 320. Grose 
says on this subject, " to scatter salt, by 
overturning the vessel in which it is con- 
tained, is very unlucky, and portends 
quarrelling with a friend or fracture of a 
bone, sprain, or other bodily misfortune. 
Indeed this may in some measure be 
averted by throwing a small quantity of 
it over one's head. It is also unlucky to 
help another person to salt. To whom 
the ill luck is to happen does not seem 
to be settled." This notion about the 
spilling of salt and wine is mentioned by 
Scot, in his " Discoverie of Witchcraft," 
1584, by Gaule C' Mag-Astro-Mancers 
posed," &c. pp. 181 and 320, as above), 
and by Melton (" Astrologaster," 1620, p. 
45). But none of these writers it would 
seem, shared the belief. In Brand's time, 
as now, the omen was thought to be 
averted by throwing a little of the spilled 
salt over the shoulder. 

Pennant tells us : "The dread of spill- 
ing salt is a known superstition among us 
and the Germans, being reckoned a pre- 
sage of some future calamity, and parti- 
cularly that it foreboded domestic feuds, 
to avert which, it is customary to fling 
some salt over the shoulder into the fire, 
in a manner truly classical." Both Greeks 
and Romans mixed salt with their sacri- 
ficial cakes : in their lustrations also they 
made use of salt and water, which gave 
rise in after-times to the superstition of 
holy water. Journey from Chester io 
London, p. 31, Home's Demonologie, p. 68. 

"I have two friends of either sex, 

which do 
Eat little salt or none, yet are friends 

to, 
Of both which persons I can truly tell. 
They are of patience most invincible, 



Whom out of temper no mischance at all 

Can put, no, if towards them the salt 
should fall." 

Gayton's Art of Longevity, 1659. 

In the "British Apollo," 1708, it is 
said : 

" Wee'l tell you the reason 

AVhy spilling of salt 

Is esteem'd such a fault, 

Because it doth ev'ry thing season. 

Th' antiques did opine 

'Twas of friendship a sign. 

So serv'd it to guests in decorum : 

And thought love decay'd 

When the negligent maid 

Let the salt-cellar tumble before them." 
" MoUivit aversos Penates 
Farre pio et saliente mica." 

Horat. lib. iii. Od. 23. 
" Salinum Eversum. 

" Prodige, subverso casu leviore Salino, 

Si male venturum conjicis Omen : adest. 
Idem. 

" Deliras insulse; salem sapientia ser- 
vat : 

Omen ab Ingenio desipiente malum. 
Idem. 

" Perde Animam temulente, cades; sic 
auguror Omen ; 

Non est in toto Corpore mica Salis." 

Keuchenii Grepundia, 1662. 

Salt in Funeral Rites. — It was 
customary in Brand's day in some parts 
of Northumberland, to set a pewter plate, 
containing a little salt, upon the corpse. 
Comp. Funeral Customs. The Devil abhors 
salt, says Moresin, which is the emblem of 
eternity and immortality. It is not liable 
to putrefaction itself, and it preserves 
things that are seasoned with it from 
decay. Considered in reference to this 
symbolical explication, how beautiful is 
that expression : "Ye are the salt of the 
earth!" Papatvs, 1594, p. 154. Scot, 
in his " Discoverie," 1584, cites Bodin, as 
telling us that " the devil loveth no salt in 
his meat, for that is a sign of eternity, 
and used by God's commandment in all 
sacrifices." 

Douce says, the custom of putting a 
plate of salt upon corpses is still retained 
in many parts of England, and particu- 
larly in Leicestershire, but it is not done 
for the reason here given. The pewter 
plate and salt are laid on the corpse with 
an intent to hinder air from getting into 
the bowels and swelling up the belly, so 
as to occasion either a bursting, or, at 
least, a difliculty in closing the cofiSn. 
Gents. Mag. Ix, 603, 760. Comp. Nares, 
Glossary, 1859, v.. Salt and Irish Super- 
stitions and Weather Omens. 

Salt-Silver.— See Martinmas. 

Sanctuaries.— It is said that even 
assassins were secure from the arm of the 
law by the payment of five pounds, if they 



5H 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



could reach unmolested the principal gate 
of Chirk Castle in Denbighshire. A 
privilege, of course, enjoyable only by rich 
persons. This was a survival of the were- 
gelt. Besides this place of refuge, there 
were at various periods of our history, 
others both in London and the provinces. 
See Alsatia. Sir H. Ellis notices, es- 
pecially, that the site of Paris Garden was 
originally " a sanctuary ground of the 
great House of St. John at Clerkenwell. 
Ellis's Orig. Letters, 3rd. S., i, 147. Among 
the provincial sanctuaries, may be men- 
tioned that at Coots, near Loughborough, 
in Leicestershire, which is particularly 
referred to in a letter from the Marquis 
of Dorset to his nephew Thomas Arundel, 
Feb. 19, 1528-9, printed by Ellis. There 
was another at Beaulieu, Hants. 

In the 16th volume of " Archasologia " 
is a list of persons who sought sanctuary 
at Beverley, in the reigns of Edward IV., 
Henry VII., and Henry VIII., printed 
from Harl. MS. 4292. To these, of course, 
we have to add the sanctuary in the 
cloisters of Westminster, to which the poet 
Skelton fled, to shield himself from the 
retribution of Wolsey. 

The ground round Holyrood House, 
Edinburgh, down to quite recent days, 
retained the ancient right of securing the 
residents within certain limits from ar- 
rest for civil process, but did not protect 
criminal delinquents. 

Sanctus, Black.— A burlesque 
hymn founded on that of the Romish ser- 
vice. See Nares, 1859, in v. The com- 
Eosition of parodies of this class seems to 
ave been not unusual ; we have some of 
the Gude and Godlie Ballades, too, set to 
popular secular airs, 1578. Comp. Bur- 
lesque. 

Sargon. — A fish, supposed to be the 
spams of Linnaeus, and our gilt-head. It 
was anciently supposed to have an extra- 
ordinary affection for goats, and to leap 
for joy when they approached the sea. 
See Nares, 1859, in v. for the popular 
superstition, which does not seem to have 
been rationally explained. 

Saturday. — The numerous notices, 
which succeed, of the religious observance 
of this day, more especially the later part, 
point of course in some measure to its 
treatment as a sort of vigil, but, at the 
same time, we appear to discern a 
lengthened wavering of sentiment between 
the Sabbath of the Jews and that of the 
Gentiles. Many still regard Sunday, not 
as the seventh day or day of rest, but as 
the first one, or opening of the week. 

Wheatley tells us, that in the East, the 
Church thought fit to indulge the humour 
of the Judaizing Christians so far, as to 
observe the Saturday as a Festival Day of 
Devotion and thereon to meet for the 



exercise of religious duties, as is plain 
from several passages of the ancients. 
" Illustr. of the Common Prayer," 1741, 
p. 191. King Edgar, a.d. 958, made an 
Ecclesiastical law that the Sabbath or 
Sunday should be observed on Saturday 
at noon, till the light should appear on 
Monday morning. 

It appears by a Council of William, 
King of Scotland, a.d. 1203, that it was 
then determined that Saturday, after the 
twelfth hour, should be kept holy. 
Hence, without doubt, was derived the 
original custom of spending a part of 
Saturday afternoon without servile labour. 
Robert of Brunne, in his Handlyng 
Sinne, (a.d. 1303), treating of the Satur- 
day half holyday, and how it was once 
especially kept holy in England in honour 
of the Virgin, tells his hearer : 

" 3if J>ou make karol or play, 

jiou halcwyft nat byi balyday - . ,** 

Also, if he gave a prize for a wrestling- 
match : 

" 3yf bou ever fettyft fwerde eyber ryng 

For to gadyr a wraftlyng, 

\>e halyday >>uu holdeft noghte 

When Ivvyche bobaunce lor l>e ys wroghte." 

Further, to give a prize to get all the 
girls together, and see which is the pret- 
tiest, is extremely wrong : 

" 5yf tou ever yn felde, eyber in toune, 
Dedyft flowie gerlande or coroune 
To make wommen to gadyr tere. 
To fe whyche J>at feyrer were ; — 
J>ys ys a5ens l>e commandement, 
And )>e halyday for i>e ys flient : 
Ilyt ys a gaderyng for lecherye, 
And fill grete pryde, and herti hye.'' 

Ed. Furnivall, p. 33. A striking instance 
of this is recorded by Moresin : " Et videre 
contigit Anno 1582 Lugduni in vigiliis 
natalium Domini, deprajhensos in stupro 
duos post missam saltare liora inter duo- 
decimam et primam noctis, cum prseter 
unum aut aliud altaris lumen nullum 
esset in Temple reliquura, &c." — Papatus, 
p. 177. 

In 1332, at a Provincial Council, held 
by Archbishop Mepham, at Mayiield, after 
complaint made, that instead of fasting 
upon the vigils, they ran out to all the 
excesses of riot, &c. it was appointed, 
among many other things relative to holy- 
daya, that, " The solemnity for Sunday 
should begin upon Saturday in the even- 
ing and not before, to prevent the mis- 
construction of keeping a Judaical 
Sabbath." 

The Hallowing of Saturday afternoon 
is thus accounted for in " Dives and 
Pauper," 1493: "The thridde Precepte, 



AND POPULAR CUSTOMS. 



xiv. chap. Dives. How longe owyth the 
haliday to be kept and halowyd ? Pauper. 
From even to even. Nathelesse summe 
begynne sonner to halow after that the 
feestis, and after use of the cuntre. But 
that men use in Saturdaies and vigilies 
to ryng holy at midday compellith nat 
men anon to halowe, but warnythe them of 
the haliday folowynge, that they shulde 
thynke thereon and spede theym, and so 
dispose hem and their occupacions that 
they might halowe in due tyme." 

The following curious extract is from a 
MS. volume of Homilies, in the Episcopal 
Library at Durham : " It is written in 
the lifEe of seynt * • ♦ * * that he was 
bisi on Ester Day before none that he 
made one to shave him or the sunne went 
doune. And the fiend aspied that, and 
gadirid up his heeris ; and whan this holi 
man sawe it, he conjured him and badde 
him tell him whi he did so. Thane said 
he, bycause y" didest no reverence to the 
Sundaie, and therfore this heris wolle I 
kepe unto j" day of Dome in reproffe of 
the. Thane he left of all his shavyng and 
toke the heris of the fiend, and made to 
brene hem in his owne hand for penaunce, 
whiche him thought he was worthe to 
suffre : and bode unshaven unto Monday. 
This is saide in reproffe of hem that wor- 
cheu at afternone on Saturdayes." "Dies 
Sabbathi ab ipsa diei Saturni hora post- 
meridiana tertia, usque in lunaris diei 
diluculum festus agitator," &c. — Selden, 
Analect. Angl. lib. ii. cap. 6. 

In Bale's "Yet a course at the Rom- 
yshe Foxe," is the following " Processyon 
upon Saturdayes at Even-songe." — 
"Your holye Father Agapitus, popett of 
Rome, fyrst dreamed it out and enacted 
it for a lawdable ceremonye of your 
whoryshe Churche. But I marvele sore 
that ye observe yt upon Saturdayes at 
nyght at Even-songe he commaundynge 
yt to bee observed upon the Sondayes, in 
the mornynge betwixt holie water mak- 
ynge and high masse. . . Moch is Satur- 
nus beholden unto yow (whyche is one of 
the olde goddes) to gamy she the goyng 
out of hys daye with so holye an obser- 
vaoyon. Joye yt ys of your lyfe as to 
remember your olde fryndes. Doubtlesse 
yt ys a fyne myrye pageant, and yow 
worthye to be called a Saturnyane for it." 
In " Articles for the Sexton of Faver- 
sham," 22 Hen. VIII. I find: "Item, the 
said sexton, or hisdeputyj every Saturday, 
Saint's even, and principal feasts, shall 
ring noon with as many bells as shall be 
convenient to the Saturday, saint's even, 
and principal feasts," &c. 

In a sermon by Henry Mason, parson of 
St. Andrew Undershaft, is the following, 
which should seem to prove that at that 
time Saturday afternoon was kept holy 



535 

by some even in the metropolis. " For 
better keeping of which (the Seventh) 
Day, Moses commanded the Jews (Exod. 
xvi. 23) that the day before the Sabbath 
they should bake what they had to bake ; 
and seeth what they had to seeth ; that 
so they might have no business© of their 
own to do, when they were to keepe God's 
holy day. And from thence it was that 
the Jews called the sixth day of the week, 
the nreparation of the Sabbath. Matt. 

xxvii. 62, and Luke xxiii. 54. ." "'P- 

swerably whereunto, and (as I take it) m 
imitation thereof, the Christian Church 
hath beene accustomed to keepe Saterday 
half holy-day, that in the afternoon they 
might ridd by-businesses out of the way, 
and by the evening service might prepare 
their raindes for the Lord's Day then 
ensuing. Which custome and usage of 
God's people, as I will not presse it upon 
any man's conscience as a neces.sarie 
dutie ; so every man will grant mee, that 
God's people, as well Christian as Jewish, 
have thought a time of preparation most 
fit for the well observing of God's holy 
day." 

i find the following homely rhymes upon 
the several days of the week in " Divers 
Crab-tree Lectures," 1639, p. 126 : 

" You know that Munday is Sundayes 

brother ; 
Tuesday is such another ; 
Wednesday you must go to church and 

pray ; 
Thursday is half-holiday ; 
On Friday it is too late to begin to .spin ; 
The Saturday is half-holiday agen." 

Bourne observes, that in his time it was 
usual in country villages, where the polite- 
ness cf the age had made no great 
conquest, to pay a greater deference to 
Saturday afternoon than to any other of 
the working days of the week. The first 
idea of this cessation from labour at that 
time was, that every one might attend 
evening prayers as a kind of preparation 
for the ensuing Sabbath. The eve of the 
Jewish Sabbath is called the Preparation, 
Moses having taught that people to re- 
member the Sabbath over night. With 
regard to Saturday afternoons, perhaps 
men who live by manual labour, and have 
families to support by it, cannot spend 
them better than in following the several 
callings in which they have employed 
themselves on the preceding days of the 
week. For industry will be no bad pre- 
paration for the Sabbath. Considered in 
a political view, much harm has been done 
by that prodigal waste of days, very false- 
ly called Holy Days in the Church of 
Rome. They have, however well intended, 
greatly favoured the cause of vice and 



536 



NATIONAL FAITHS 



dissipation, without doing any essential 
service to that of rational religion. Com- 
plaints appear to have been made in 
almost every synod and council of the 
licentiousness introduced by the keeping 
of vigils. Nor will the philosopher won- 
der at this, for it has its foundation in 
the nature of things. 

It is curious enough that we have re- 
turned to an observance of Saturday 
afternoon, not as a religious fast or 
vigil, but as a period of relaxation and 
amusement for our workers. But the 
observation of Sundays draws also to an 
end. 

Sauncingr-Bell. — See Passing-BeU. 

Saunt.— In Lingua, 1607 (Hazlitt's 
Dodsley, ix. 3871, Anamnestes says: "As 
for Memory, he's a false-hearted fellow ; 
he always deceives them ; they respect not 
him, except it be to play a game at chests, 
primero, saunt, maw, or such like." 
Compare Cent-Foot. 

Scales. — Rice, in his " Inuectiue 
againste Vices taken for Vertue," 1579, 
mentions this twice, but gives no farther 
explanation. 

Scatter Mice, To. — It is a common 
expression, when a lady pays visits to her 
neighbours after her confinement, to say, 
that she comes to scatter her mice ; the 
origin of the phrase is not so clear ; but 
the meaning is, that the person whom she 
thus visits is thought to be so placed